There are many different factors that motivate adults and young people to want to gain digital literacy skills.
What is Motivation?
Motivation can be defined as the impetus to accomplish goals. There are essentially two primary types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.
- Intrinsic motivation focuses on internal desires and rewards. Often, the individual is motivated to undertake an activity because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable.
- Extrinsic motivation is related to external rewards and punishments such as a pay rise or promotion. Nonetheless, it is often difficult to categorise motivation as being purely intrinsic or extrinsic. Motivating factors are often a combination of the two.
There are numerous factors that motivate adults and young people to want to gain digital literacy skills. More often than not, there is a major change in personal or occupational circumstances that precipitates the impetus to learn. Unemployment or redundancy may require the individual to undertake training, so that they become more employable. If they wish to claim any type of unemployment benefit, such as Job Seeker’s Allowance, then they will undoubtedly be required to utilise the Universal Jobmatch website.
Similarly, for those who are in employment, their employer may decide to overhaul or modernise its working practices so that paper-based tasks will be undertaken in a digital manner. To keep their job, the individual may need to undergo additional training in order to gain the necessary digital skills.
Some adults and young people are also motivated to improve their digital literacy skills as it is likely to increase their promotion prospects at work.
There is also growing pressure on the long-term unemployed, sick and disabled population to become financially self-sufficient. Firstly, many benefits have to be applied for online. The prospect of losing all or part of their benefits means that most applicants have little or no alternative, but to become digitally literate.
The sudden death of a partner or the breakup of a relationship may also compel some individuals to acquire digital literacy skills. If their financial situation is adversely affected, then they may need to find employment. Due to the costs associated with advertising in traditional print newspapers, an increasing number of employers now only advertise vacancies online. Many more are using social media sites such as Facebook, to vet candidates in advance. Others will only accept online applications. Consequently, the prospective candidate must possess a digital CV and must also be competent enough to upload it online.
Adults and young people, who lack digital literacy skills, are often motivated to gain new computer skills when they become parents or grandparents. They want to be able to keep up with their children or grandchildren, who have absolutely no fear of digital technology. They may also want to be able to use the internet to help them with their homework.
Being able to use the internet also brings with it many advantages that motivates someone to want to gain the necessary skills. Access to online banking gives the user better control over their finances. Also, goods can often be purchased cheaper online and users can read reviews before committing to purchasing the item.
Finally, there is the increased social interaction that being able to use the internet brings. Adults and young people can keep in touch with family and friends via social media sites. They are also a good way for communities to keep in touch with posts about local events being shared as well as warnings about any anti-social activity that may be taking place. For someone who is housebound, having digital literacy skills can provide an essential link to the outside world.
- The Independent (2015) Zlata Rodionova: One-third of Employers use Social Media to Recruit. [15 October 2017]