It is doubtful that anyone would argue with the comment that as a society we are well and truly living in a digital age. Advances in digital technology impact on virtually every aspect of our lives, including health, leisure, travel and the workplace. Indeed, in terms of work, there are very few roles that do not require some level of knowledge of digital technology, whether this is related to the use of modern mobile devices or the more complex spheres of software usage and technology development.
Digital skills and education
You would have thought, therefore, that educational policies, practices and curriculum would by now have fully embraced the need to teach digital skills for all students. However, a report released House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills on 17 February 2015, found that “there is a shortage of medium- and high-level digital skills in the UK”, which the authors suggest poses a threat to future economic growth in the UK. The report suggests that the reason for this shortage is largely due to the lack of educational focus on developing appropriate learning and educational programmes to enable graduates and college leavers to develop these skills.
How to address the problem
It could be argued that one of the causal factors for the lack of digital skill learning can be related to the current approach that is taken towards learning in the higher education sector. Predominately, curriculums for universities are based on a academic approach to education, with a limited amount of attention being concentrated on ensuring that students have “ready to work” skills, as was discussed in an earlier post on this blog. It is argued that the perceived shortage of high-level digital skills can only be fully addressed if higher education manager introduce a policy where these institutions work far more closely with digital innovators from the private sector
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