Within an organization, educational system, or political subdivision, communication and access to information is always essential for the smooth functioning and execution of plans. Access to communication is always required in addition. Specific skill sets are needed to align human activity, maintain successful cooperation between humans and digital systems at various levels of sentience, and apply digital literacy in planning and execution.

As organizations progress toward more complete adoption of digital technology, it will be necessary for L&D or other skill development activity to maintain employee productivity 

Digital equity

Digital equity refers to the degree of available access to digital technology and internet service. Digital equity mainly ensures that all people can use modern IT devices and services easily. The more even the distribution of the technology and the skills required to use it, the more likely the chance of success becomes, depending on the barriers present. 

Barriers to digital equity

What are the barriers? According to consulting firm Deloitte, “We define digital equity as a state where all people and organizations can fully benefit from the digital technology needed to succeed in the digital economy.” This concept requires the achievement of three goals:

  • Access: Providing infrastructure and the means for all to connect to digital technologies.
  • Participation: Ensuring individuals and organizations have the skills and knowledge to use digital technologies effectively.
  • Ecosystem: Creating an environment that supports continuous learning and adaptation to new technologies.

Achieving digital equity requires a strategic approach: Cultural shifts, education, and policy must be adopted in line with the business situation.

Digital literacy

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) recommends this definition for digital literacy via their Digital Literacy Task Force.

“Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”

A person with digital literacy skills:

  • Possesses the variety of skills – technical and cognitive – required to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information in a wide variety of formats;
  • Can use diverse technologies appropriately and effectively to retrieve information, interpret results, and judge the quality of that information;
  • Understands the relationship between technology, lifelong learning, personal privacy, and stewardship of information;
  • Uses these skills and the appropriate technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, colleagues, family, and on occasion, the general public; and
  • Uses these skills to actively participate in civic society and contribute to a vibrant, informed, and engaged community.

(The NDIA also suggests using the term “digital skills” or “beginner computer training” when conducting community work. The word “literacy” and the implication of “illiteracy” can be perceived negatively by communities who need digital inclusion most. Using asset-based language reflects the opportunity for growth and decolonizes language around education.)

These are substantial skills, essential to successful digital transition.