Seminar Feedback: Implications for adults seeking learning/work

Here’s the feedback on question 1 from the seminar:

Q1. What are the implications for adults seeking learning and work opportunities?


  1. Adults seeking learning & work opportunities may not know what they don’t know: raising awareness is essential.
  2. Online recruitment to employment is becoming more customary so adults who lack IT skills will be disadvantaged.
  3. As job roles change, IT skills – not qualifications – are almost essential.
  4. E learning will continue to make learning more accessible to those with good IT skills but has the potential to increase the learning divide – by excluding those whose IT skills are weak.
  5. Many unemployed or economically inactive people will not have a PC at home. It is important to raise the profile and promote more heavily the availability of free IT access points.
  6. Some people, particularly in rural areas, may live some distance from access points and transport can be an issue. There is a need to link in community transport schemes and find other venues at a more local level.
  7. Some adults may be reluctant to go into a library to use the free facilities there – it is acknowledged however that some libraries are offering free one-to-one familiarisation sessions to help adults overcome their fear of using computers. More of this type of provision would be really useful.
  8. There is a need to show people the relevance of using new technologies e.g. on-line shopping, e mail, internet banking etc.
  9. Some people may lack confidence and therefore be unwilling to engage in learning or take the first step.
  10. There may be funding implications as there can be expensive fees incurred.
  11. Some people may feel intimidated (environment, lack of IT knowledge) or there may be a lack of encouragement.
  12. It would virtually be impossible for someone to have the IT skills required  if they lack Essential Skills.
  13. Missing out on opportunities for progression.
  14. Might feel there is no point even trying as they have “missed the boat” as far as technology is concerned.
  15. What about those who aren’t actively seeking work or willing to engage in learning – some people don’t want to learn about IT – how do you involve them?
  16. What sort of “hooks” can be used – need to see relevance to their lives/interests?
  17. Many adults are a long way from being media literate and motivation will be key in addressing this.
  18. There is a lack of opportunity and flexibility within learning and work for any adult who is not media literate.
  19. Options for accessing learning and work will be limited.
  20. Initial training from employers may be valuable but needs to be sustained.
  21. Fear of stigma and lack of media confidence may inhibit work / learning performance.


  1. There is a huge opportunity for everyone to benefit from the new technologies but we need to capitalize on the opportunities and make them accessible to everyone to prevent further exclusion.
  2. Media literacy opens lines of communication and gives the disabled or housebound the ability to shop online and even opens employment opportunities where people can work from home.
  3. It can provide a more economic form of learning for those with little or no income.
  4. Media literacy gives independence and empowerment.

Seminar Feedback: Barriers for adults

Here’s the feedback on question 2 from the seminar:

Q2. Are there any particular barriers for the adults you are working with?

  1. Apart from IT skills, many adults lack confidence in using technology for everyday life – digital TV, DVD recording, text messaging, eBay etc.  Buying online should be used as a marketing tool to “sell” media literacy as it is cheaper but many adults who lack the skills will be disadvantaged. The digital divide will become the affluence divide.
  2. There are plenty of suppliers advertising their electronic communications technology but many adults need independent advice on purchases.  “Which?”  provides an excellent service but is it accessible to this market?  There may be opportunities here for a local social enterprise such as NSA PCCare in Wales.
  3. There is a need for short taster sessions to help overcome people’s fear of the computer. A long course on word processing, database and spreadsheets is not relevant for those who initially just want to get online, surf the net and send e-mails.
  4. Essential Skills needs are an issue for some adults in accessing and using IT. Again taster sessions could help engage adults in Essential Skills learning linked to IT.
  5. There is a need to provide impartial, independent guidance on purchasing computers, software and broadband facilities. Many people feel confused by what is on offer and may not always receive appropriate advice from sales people. This can prove a major barrier.
  6. There is a similar need to provide information and advice on protecting computers from viruses, spyware, etc. and for protecting children from accessing inappropriate material.
  7. Need to re-think promotional strategies. It is important to use a range of approaches as adults are different and have different needs and reasons for accessing digital technologies.
  8. Cost
  9. Can be difficult to motivate if they can’t see the relevance.
  10. Too much emphasis on the technology can be off putting – need to concentrate more on what it can do for you.
  11. Fear factor – don’t want to seem ignorant in front of others.
  12. Not enough general interest classes – not everyone wants a qualification – is government only focusing on classes that are seen as directly “economically” relevant i.e. to get people into jobs.  General interest classes can spark further study so it is wrong to dismiss them.
  13. Allow increased access through computers in work – encourage staff to try out new technologies (can lead to increased creativity, etc.).
  14. Security fears.
  15. Habit – e.g. not wanting to pay for things by direct debit – e.g. broadband because normally pay for things by cheque/cash, etc.
  16. People don’t want to invest time in learning new skills.
  17. Removing stigma and creating a sense of urgency – that NOW is the time to take action.
  18. Individual engagement is key, though resource heavy.  A network is needed.
  19. Trust needs to be built and maintained with a learner.
  20. Relevant provision needs to be accessible – varied times, start dates, with flexibility re: absences.
  21. Strategy / policies / funding need to be flexible to support this.

Seminar Feedback: Support to help adults become more media literate

Here’s the feedback on question 3 from the seminar:

Q3. What support is needed to help adults become more media literate – in the short term and in the longer term?

  1. There is a need for easily accessible, independent information and advice for practitioners and learners – by phone and online. 
  2. More access points in rural communities are needed and in fact they should be more visible in all areas right at the heart of the community and in places where people are (e.g. day centres, shopping centres, community centres).
  3. More facilities would be useful in JBOs and Job Centres to help job seekers use IT to improve job search and job application opportunities. Staff should be trained to offer support and to signpost clients to IT training where appropriate.
  4. There should be more opportunities for family learning where parents and children can share their skills.
  5. An increase in schemes where volunteers can offer individual support in IT access points would be useful to help engage more people in using digital technologies.
  6. Those in employment may also need support and opportunities should be encouraged in the workplace perhaps using volunteers to share skills.
  7. A strategy for raising awareness and signposting to support in using digital technologies should be drawn up for the workplace.
  8. Resources and facilities available for practice and usage after class not just during class.
  9. Schools opening doors to public after hours to facilitate learning.
  10. Younger generation showing the older generation (Children – Parents). Parents and children can share knowledge (Parents business mind + Children technological mind).
  11. Help parents keep up with children e.g. extended schools project, open evenings for parents with IT focus, etc.
  12. Introducing buddy systems.
  13. Addressing the needs of those with Essential Skills needs before digital inclusion.
  14. Recognising needs and continued support post training.
  15. Does it need to become more community focused?  More emphasis on mentoring, 1:1 and peer support?  Many people help others everyday with small tasks/skills e.g. downloading music/pod casts, sharing photos, etc.  Also could be used in the workplace.
  16. Extend range of programmes on TV and radio – short segments with useful tips and guides, learner experiences, etc.
  17. Individual “shop floor” support.
  18. Company support time and resources.
  19. Individuals need support to see and value their achievements.

Media Literacy Seminar (19th February 2008)

Thanks to everyone who attended yesterday’s seminar on media literacy – we hope you enjoyed it.

We’re in the process of compiling the feedback notes from each of the questions, which will be posted separately for your comments.

As a reminder, here are the questions from yesterday:

  1. What are the implications for adults seeking learning and work opportunities?
  2. Are there any particular barriers for the adults you are working with?
  3. What support is needed to help adults become more media literate – in the short term and in the longer term?

EGSA would also like to thank our seminar speakers: Basil, Evelyn, Stephen and Ann Marie for their presentations.