Learning for the New Normal: Skills for the Digital World

Would you trust a surgeon who has never worked with another human being, only practiced on artificial and mechanical bodies, and never treated another human, but has an encyclopaedic theoretical knowledge (acquired digitally through a distance learning course no less) to operate on your heart, or your eyes, in the full knowledge that any incorrect decision would kill you or render you blind?

Classrooms, schools and universities are here to stay, as the most critical skills, knowledge and experience cannot be passed on and taught digitally (atleast not yet).

However, the shift to digital technology and resources is here to stay as well. Therefore, it is critical, that the future of learning is designed, ameliorated and amended with this in mind.

Parents who believed that devices were not good for their kids, and blamed their offspring’s addiction to the screen for their lack of social interest in the real world, are suddenly faced with a reality of having to encourage and teach their young ones using the very same technology.

Therefore, it is morally and critically important that we all share, learn and absorb skills for the digital and technology driven world.

Digital skills are mentioned often and are a focus of many a platform, but before Digital Skills we all need to learn Skills for the Digital world.

From the experience of the last 4 months, and having previously been a teacher my 5 top skills to master are:

  1. Security: This is not just the Pin number you enter to unlock your phone, but understanding:
    1. Where your Data and Personal Information resides – Where is your Digital home?
    2. Who has access to all the information: Yes someone knows what websites you visited and what documents you have saved – the question is WHO?
    3. Who controls your data: Your data is not your data. When you accept “cookies” or “accept Terms & condition”, many times you are willingly giving your data away. Sometimes it is for the free use of a platform, and sometimes it is just for the pleasure of watching something or reading something online.
  2. Connectivity: The assumption that the “internet” is always available is dangerous. Knowing the limitations of connectivity is critical, and ensuring you have your most critical information securely stored “offline” on your device or on a separate easily accessible Hard Drive is important
  3. Data Storage: Linked to connectivity, many people have become dependent on online storage, with many companies offering free online storage for its “CUSTOMERS”. This ties the customer or the learner into their ecosystem. If you stop being customers, the ecosystem is no longer accessible to you. Recognising the limits and knowing how to “untie” yourself from the ecosystem means you have choice of systems.
  4. Systems: With the fast evolving world, it is critical for the learner to have knowledge and skills not just for a particular system like Apple, Android (Google), Microsoft, or Linux but be familiar with as many as possible. Different industries and companies work on different systems and software and ensuring you have the right technology foundation is important.
  5. Understand the Technology: An “old school” trick, understanding the basics of how an ecosystem works means that you will be able to seamlessly shift from different operating systems and different devices as newer companies come to the fore and older ones disappear. Erm, so how do I use this Gateway computer with MS-DOS? (anyone remember this!)

Once you understand the basic Skills for the Digital World, you are now ready to pick up some Digital Skills!

In my next blog, I shall talk about my top 5 Digital Skills for the new normal. Until then, go out, breathe the fresh air and switch off your screen!

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