Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

15 September 2008

Lack of skills

Clark @ 7:13 AM

One of the pervasive myths is that the new ‘digital natives’ are computer fluent.  However, I’m working on a project to address digital literacy skills where the expert says experience shows that students are rather naive; they have some skills, but maybe not efficient and effective ones, and are missing others.  It’s anecdotal, but fortunately, we’re beginning to get evidence that this isn’t the case.

Michele Martin points us to this announcement from the UK that documents robust problems in youth use of computers.  The study shows that students are not using tools effectively, and also are not evaluating information appropriately. Which shouldn’t be a surprise.  They’re not getting well-structured instruction about it, and trusting to their own self-learning skills is known to not be effective, whether it’s the fact that pure exploratory environments don’t work (except for the small fraction of folks who are self-effective learners), or that people ineffectively self-evaluate.

As you might infer, this is true of individuals in the workplace as well, and Michele also points us to this (rather self-serving) piece by a company that trains on search skills, documenting the inefficiencies. Which makes the point that trusting to effective skills isn’t a fair expectation.

All of which, it occurs to me, makes the case yet again for the benefit of not just teaching work literacy skills, which I support, but also for learning to learn skills.  And the context of that, creating a learning culture.

1 Comment »

  1. The revelation that kids (not sure exactly what age we are scoping here) prefer interactivity over passivity (who doesn’t?) and visuals over text
    is not terribly earth shattering. Nor is there surprise that kids cannot distinguish quality or authority during searches – neither could I until I learned who the authorities were and what made them authories. The link
    to the article on self-evaluation reminds me of a piece I read on confidence-based assessment (sorry, no cite) that stated mych the same thing – people are not good at self-assessing. I absolutely agree
    that the mere of a tool does not ensure deep knowledge or awareness of anything. Aren’t the kids just consumers? End users? Why would we assume that digital literacy skills are a natural by-product of use
    of digital technologies? Why do we assume that students have developed metacognitive skills just because they are in a higher education environment?

    I cannot help but wonder about who is perpetrating the “myth” – ‘fess up!

    Clark, I shall be fascinated to read all about your project on digital literacy skils.

    Comment by Angela van Barneveld — 17 September 2008 @ 4:39 AM

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