Media Alert: Study Reveals Digital Literacy Training Significantly Helps College Graduates Prepare for Jobs

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 7:02 am EDT

New Research Reveals Digital Literacy Education Helps Students Transfer Skills to Workforce, Laying Foundation for Future Success




Public Company Information:

"To be successful in today’s workforce, students need to be creators — not just consumers of digital content."

PHILADELPHIA — Nov. 1, 2017 — Today, the New Media Consortium (NMC) released its 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief, sponsored by Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE). The study — which surveyed 700 recent graduates from 36 colleges and universities — reveals that while many college students receive some digital literacy training, most received minimal or no training in the production of basic digital content while in school, which could hamper their success in the workforce.

Most of the digital literacy training in higher education is directed toward consumption and evaluation of information and media, and not the creation of content using digital resources, according to the study. Most respondents indicated they received the greatest amount of training (moderate or advanced) as undergraduates to conceptualize, analyze and evaluate a subject in order to inform an educated perspective (74.6 percent). However, respondents indicated they received minimal or no training on the production of digital content, specifically media such as video, audio or graphics (63.4 percent), and mobile assets, mobile apps, podcasts or e-books (79.4 percent).

More than half of respondents said they were better able to do their jobs because of the digital literacy training they received in college, and more than a third said they feel more accomplished in their profession because of their training. In fact, 38.3 percent said they received a promotion within the last year.

These findings support Adobe’s viewpoint that digital literacy should be an essential part of the education experience and that learning to create and communicate in new ways by producing digital content gives students a competitive advantage for future success.  

“It is critical for schools to focus on integrating technology and digital literacy into curricula, as well as providing teachers and faculty with the necessary tools to help students develop these skills,” said Karen McCavitt, senior group manager of Education Marketing at Adobe. “To be successful in today’s workforce, students need to be creators — not just consumers of digital content.” 

Other key findings in the study include:

  • Digital literacy education helps learners transfer these skills and knowledge to the workforce. A majority (69.6 percent) of postgraduates believe they were prepared to do their work when starting their jobs; 57.8 percent received positive job performance evaluations regarding their digital skills; and over half (52.7 percent) indicated they earn comparable pay to similar professionals in their field.
  • Students who are exposed to digital literacy training in higher education begin to develop digital skill competencies. For example, surveyed postgraduates credited the applied technical courses they took in college with their increased technical abilities and digital literacy.
  • Gaps in digital skill sets arise when schools don’t take an applied approach to learning with technology. The study shows a clear need for schools to have students create digital projects that offer evidence of their work, showcase experiences, deliver narratives and more, in order for them to develop digital literacy.
  • Exposure to digital literacy in higher education encourages continuous learning of digital skills and knowledge. Surveyed postgraduates reported that digital skills require an ongoing need for training. By starting with a solid foundation in school, students are well-positioned to develop the momentum and curiosity they need to meet the demands of the workforce.

“Digital literacy isn’t just about learners understanding how to use a single technology or a host of programs and devices,” said Eden Dahlstrom, executive director of the NMC and principal investigator of the study. “Our research indicates that when learners can use digital tools to create something original, they will be able to adapt to a range of work environments. The digital realm is only expanding; colleges and universities need to provide opportunities to cultivate more creativity and adaptability in learners.”

The 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief is available online, free of charge, and under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication and broad distribution.

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Anais Gragueb




Jon Temerlies



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