September 20, 2016

Digital Readiness Gaps

3. Greater digital readiness translates to higher level of use of technology in learning

Another way to understand digital readiness and its connection to use of tech tools in learning is to simply compare measures of digital readiness to the likelihood people use digital tools to pursue personal learning. This section does that by looking at:

  1. Whether people used the internet in the course of their personal learning in the previous 12 months. Overall, 52% of personal learners (or 38% of all adults) had used the internet as a tool in learning activities they pursued for their own interests.
  2. Whether people had taken an online course of any sort in the past 12 months. Some 16% of all adults had done this.

The following tables show results for comparing the use of digital tools in learning to the main components of digital readiness: people’s familiarity with “ed tech” terms, whether people need help in setting up new gadgets, whether they have a hard time determining what information online is trustworthy, and their confidence with computers and the internet. In each table, the differences reported are significant even when controlling for socio-economic factors such as age, income or educational attainment.

At the same time, factors other than the ones used to measure digital readiness have something to do with whether people use the internet in personal learning. Demographic characteristics, as well as the amount of tech access gadgets people have, also make a difference.

As the Center’s report “ Lifelong Learning and Technology” noted, demographic and socio-economic variables have a lot to do with people’s likelihood of participating in personal or professional learning. Those with higher levels of income and educational attainment are more likely to use technology in learning, while those with fewer tech assets and minorities are less likely to. Library use is also relevant here – with those who have used libraries in the past year more likely to have used digital tools in learning.

As with measures of digital readiness, the differences reported are all significantly different from results for all personal learners (or all adults), and these differences are significant even when controlling for socio-economic factors such as age, income or educational attainment.