Enhancing Digital Literacy and Learning Among Adults With Blogs
Recent literature has noted the lack of attention given to adult literacy (Ortlieb & Young, 2016), particularly with respect to digital learning among adults (Jacobs, Castek, Pizzolato, Reder, & Pendell, 2014). Although access to technology has increased, digital divides still persist (Perrin & Duggan, 2015). Specifically, digital divides are most prevalent among adults who are older, are racially and ethnically diverse, reside in rural communities, and have lower levels of income and educational attainment. The manifestation of new technologies has also engendered a digital divide of literacy and skills among adults (Antonio & Tuffley, 2015; Jesnek, 2012; Pendell, Withers, Castek, & Reder, 2013; Radovanović, Hogan, & Lalić, 2015). Reder (2015) asserted that these digital inequities have a negative impact on achieving the four sequential stages of digital inclusion:
1. Digital access: Access to digital tools
2. Digital taste: Preferences for and choices with digital tools
3. Digital readiness: Basic knowledge of and skills in digital tools
4. Digital literacy: Systematic application of and proficiency with digital tools
Although the majority of adults have reached the final stage of digital inclusion, Reder noted that many possess weak digital literacy skills. Despite these growing concerns, digital technologies have substantially impacted learning environments. Presently, adult educators incorporate varying levels and types of digital technologies into traditional, blended, and online learning environments. Consequently, adult learners must be competent individuals who have reached the final stage of digital inclusion (Reder, 2015) and possess proficiency with digital literacy skills (Eshet, 2012; Eshet-Alkalai, 2004). In an effort to better understand effective ways to support digital literacy and learning among adults, I recently experimented with blogs to facilitate a collaborative learning experience in an online graduate course. The central purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of adult learners regarding blogs as a tool for learning. In this article, I share findings from this study that provide adult educators with preliminary insights related to this underdeveloped area of research. Findings highlight the significance of technology acceptance and the inclusion of collaborative learning experiences to promote digitally inclusive learning environments among adult learners.