SEATTLE – April 12, 2022 – The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and Digital Promise have partnered to release a new resource guide, “Promoting Digital Literacy for Adult Learners,” to support educators, tutors and mentors who are working with adult learners on building digital literacy skills. The guide was introduced to an audience of adult education leaders and practitioners at the Coalition on Adult Basic Education’s national conference in Seattle today.
Digital literacy – the skills needed to live, learn and work in today’s increasingly technology-driven society – is more important than ever. As jobs become more automated and require greater technological skills, it is essential that workers have the basic skills and foundational knowledge needed to tackle any new technology. Digital skills are also increasingly necessary to complete everyday tasks such as navigating a telehealth visit, finding and applying for jobs, or helping children with remote learning. Yet, the digital literacy gap is a growing equity issue.
- Nearly one out of three Americans currently struggles to perform their job effectively due to limited digital problem-solving skills, especially among people of color from both immigrant and non-immigrant backgrounds. (National Skills Coalition)
- Adults earning low wages show less use of the internet for tasks like finding health or employment information. (Journal of Applied Gerontology)
- An estimated 30% of Americans – especially those with a high school diploma or less – will have to switch jobs in the coming years or develop the skills that employers are now seeking. (McKinsey Global Institute)
- More than 50% of jobs that require a high school diploma or less are expected to be automated in the next decade. (McKinsey Global Institute)
- A growing digital racial gap could cause 76% of Black Americans and 62% of Hispanic Americans to be shut out or be under-prepared for 86% of jobs in the U.S. by 2045. (Deutsche Bank)
“Over the past two years, technology has truly been a lifeline for so many of us – allowing us to keep working, learning and connecting with friends and family. But we know that our fellow Americans who struggle with digital literacy have had a very different experience,” said British A. Robinson, President and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation. “Access to devices and connectivity are important, but it is critical that every adult is equipped with the skills to use technology so that they can fully participate in our society as parents, workers and citizens.”
The Barbara Bush Foundation and Digital Promise partnered to create the resource guide to meet the growing professional development needs of adult educators, large employers, workplaces and volunteers who work with adult learners – specifically in digital literacy. The guide, which was peer reviewed by 16 adult literacy experts and corporate partners, is grounded in adult learning theory and includes practical approaches for working with adult learners.
“Digital skills have become fundamental for social mobility. As such, adult learners must have access to powerful learning experiences that prioritize digital literacy,” said Digital Promise President and CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “While there is a great focus in K-12 education on understanding the ‘whole child,’ understanding the ‘whole learner’ is equally critical for adults as they strive to acquire digital literacy skills that are vital for successful careers and family and community engagement.”
The “Promoting Digital Literacy for Adult Learners” resource guide is now available online at no cost. Additional professional development resources to support educators’ use of the guide will be available this summer.
About the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy: The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has been the nation’s leading advocate for family literacy for more than three decades. Established by former First Lady Barbara Bush in 1989, the Foundation is a public charity dedicated to creating a stronger, more equitable America in which everyone can read, write and comprehend in order to navigate the world with dignity. To learn more, visit www.BarbaraBush.org.
About Digital Promise: Digital Promise is a nonprofit organization that builds powerful networks and takes on grand challenges by working at the intersection of researchers, entrepreneurs, and educators. Our vision is that all people, at every stage of their lives, have access to learning experiences that help them acquire the knowledge and skills they need to thrive and continuously learn in an ever-changing world. For more information, visit www.digitalpromise.org.