Purpose – IT related skills are vital for becoming and remaining a citizen in a digitally supported information society – also for adults who are no longer in school; do not use IT in their work; are unemployed, self‐employed, or retired; or otherwise without the technical support, possibilities for training, and availability of a community of practice and “master users” that are common in organizational contexts. The paper aims to draw on literature on learning IT skills in the organizational context and to apply this in a non‐organizational, community context. The paper seeks to explore how individual IT‐skill and knowledge development could be supported using formal and informal learning strategies, including community services, training courses, information events, learning community and other learning mechanisms. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is empirically grounded in a research and development project with 50 participating families who received a PC, printer, and internet connection, as well as training, technical support, and information events over a period of two years. Both qualitative and quantitative data were gathered throughout the project. Data are here analyzed as an extensive case study. Findings – Based on experiences from the project the paper describes how “digital literacies” could be learned and supported and inclusion in the digital information society enhanced in practice. The paper develops a framework that shows how different learning strategies and mechanisms support different kinds of computer knowledge and skill areas; describes three interlinked areas of IT knowledge and skills; and suggests a number of practical implications on how computer self‐efficacy could be supported in a non‐organizational context. Originality/value – The paper draws on extant knowledge about learning and developing IT‐skills in the organizational context, and applies this knowledge in a different context in order to explore how this knowledge can be used also outside organizations to support adults to be part of the digitally supported information society.
Information Technology & People – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 23, 2011
Keywords: IT skills; Community context; Learning strategies; Learning mechanisms; Experience‐based learning; Situated learning; Internet; Computers; Skills; Communication