Digital literacy training programs (DLTPs) are influential in developing digital skills to help build a more inclusive and participatory ecosystem. The training curriculums under these programs often focus mainly on developing information-seeking and communication competencies, besides the basic operations of digital devices. They are critical in keeping people’s knowledge, competencies, and abilities up to date.
African economies require both a digitally competent workforce as well as digitally literate citizens who could reap the benefits that the digital society brings and Africa still lacks a comprehensive framework for digital skills, although some countries have developed broad frameworks.
The most comprehensive and widely used framework for general digital skills is the European Union’s
DigComp 2.13. It Identifies five areas with 21 competencies. The five areas are information and data literacy, Communication and collaboration, Digital Content creation, safety; and problem-solving. For each competence, there are eight proficiency levels grouped into four broad headings—Foundational,
Intermediate, Advanced, and Highly Specialized.
- Promoting equitable use of digital services and technology empowers marginalized communities to overcome barriers to digital literacy and education.
- Digital Literacy increases access to online opportunities, particularly for marginalized groups
- By producing digital artifacts, learners can have more control over their stories and come to see and represent themselves in new ways
Digital Literacy Programs are best efficiently carried out using smartphones. Smartphones have become the new information medium with their ability to provide the user with high-quality information. “Smartphones are no different than laptops, personal computers, or other devices. Smart devices consist of two parts that are complementary to each other. These are the hardware, a physical part responsive to touch, and the software as a programmatic device operator (operating system) to lead the hardware. Similar to Windows and Linux the smartphone device will not work without an operating system”. Because of the ubiquity and widespread availability of smartphones, it is necessary to understand how this technology is used to access information.
“Smartphones provide high-quality performance and quick access to data and information
management, mobile audio, and audio-visual calls, mobile teleconferencing, sending and
receiving emails and quick and easy internet access.
In Education, Smartphones enhance students’ digital information literacy skills as they can handle digital information through a digital device, Not all students have laptops and desktops, but most single students can access smartphones.
Students utilize smartphones to access the Internet for information and knowledge. They gain
knowledge through using their smartphone to access a multitude of materials on the Internet;
Thus, knowing how to use smartphones for information access is critical.
Addressing the digital divide is a multistakeholder endeavor that each and every one of us can be a part of.