Australia, along with many other countries around the globe, is currently undergoing a digital transformation in this Fourth Industrial Revolution (Source: World Economic Forum, accessed 10/9/2021). In late 2019, the Australian government, via the Australian Industry and Skills Commission (AISC) convened an expert panel called the Digital Transformation Expert Panel. This panel has identified that we are on the verge of an era-defining opportunity with our digital transformation, however they have also identified that we have significant risks in addressing the skill shortages that currently exist in our digital literacy skills (Source: Digital Transformation Expert Panel, accessed 10/9/2021). In alignment with this warning, Australia has dropped from 9th to 15th on the global league table of digital competitiveness (Source: CEDA, accessed 15/9/2021). The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is working towards Australia being a leading digital economy by 2030 (Source: Prime Minister of Australia, accessed 10/9/2021), to achieve this we must address these digital skills gaps, particularly in determining the new future of work and how we ensure workers displaced by automation are able to transition to alternative jobs.
With Digital Skills being identified as the 6th core skills under the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) it is clear that attention needs to be given to specific upskilling of people in this area. There are a range of LLN programs, and it is time to ensure we have adequate digital skills programs to support people in their journey through education, work and life in general.
At VETNexus, we have launched the Digital Literacy Licence (DLL) This is a suite of micro-credentials (short courses with digital badges issued on successful completion) mapped to the Australian Digital Literacy Skills Framework (DLSF). The DLL ensures participants are provided with skills to navigate a digital world. The program encompasses highly innovative online learning practices with interactive content based on ‘story-telling and ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ decision-making. With inclusivity at front of mind, our content is accessible to learners with a range of language skills and physical abilities, with the senses of sight, sound and touch catered for (in alignment with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines); and a diverse range of personas in our character suite, incorporating characters who are First Nation people, Asian, European, New Zealander and other nationalities (with professional voice over artists from these backgrounds).
Online learning has experienced a boom in popularity since the pandemic began in 2020, however we have been working in this space for many years. This experience has enabled us to determine the most engaging models for course design. There are many online courses available that are passive and unengaging, often with a focus of consumption of a series of videos, sometimes with a multiple-choice quiz at the end. Learners often lose interest, fail to watch the videos through, and do not retain the information long term. Innovative training techniques need to be used to engage the learner and keep them active and involved throughout. Whilst storytelling in learning has been used by society for centuries, particularly in indigenous communities, the ability to create interactive ‘choose your own adventure’ style online learning, is the latest in innovative digital learning development tools. We have utilised these development tools in each lesson of the program, to provide an introduction to each concept. By engaging a learner through a series of crossover storylines it invokes interest in the characters, with the learner wanting to know more about the character’s personal lives, school, and their workplace.
The Digital Literacy Licence takes learners on a journey of discovery and decision making, actively engaging with the concepts covered to ensure they have developed the full range of foundational digital skills by the time they complete their full Digital Literacy Licence, consisting of four levels, each with multiple lessons. The outcome will be a higher level of digital skills that learners will take to future employers, raising the bar for Australian businesses.
Article by Kerri Buttery, VETNexus and Parkhouse Bell Board Advisor