About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1085-1091
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0365

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain


S. White, S. Flynn, M. Black, A. Moore

Ulster University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Digital literacy is defined as “the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of courses when it is presented via computers” [1]. In order to be considered digitally literate a person must have the following digital skills: the ability to manage information online, communicate via social media or email, perform transactions, create digital media from existing content and have the ability to solve problems that are encountered. However, approximately 35% of adults in Northern Ireland lack these basic skills [2]. This is higher than the UK average where 21% of the population is considered digitally literate. By 2020 the UK Government Digital Inclusion Strategy aims to reduce the digital illiteracy to under 10% [3].

IM HAPPY [4] is a project based in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, which aims to raise the aspirations and confidence of participants by providing a range of bite-sized IT modules to learners of all ages. Feedback from adult learners engaged on the IM HAPPY project indicated that there was a need for beginner adult computing courses in Coleraine to help build confidence and basic skills in technology. The project team responded to this feedback by offering courses such as ‘Introduction to Computers’ and ‘Effective Social Media’.
This paper analyses the feedback obtained from adult learners on the IM HAPPY programme. It also outlines the delivery method for the ‘Introduction to Computers’ course, the student profile and the overall success of the course as measured through confidence levels, pass rates and retention. The 12-week course was delivered three times to a total of 40 students aged 40+ across two community centres in Coleraine Neighbourhood Renewal Areas (NRAs) between September 2016 and March 2017. The course was tailored to suit the needs of the students by introducing material at a gentle pace with the aim of improving user confidence with technology. Simple concepts such as how to turn on a computer, use a mouse and keyboard and send emails were introduced. The students were split into groups and 3 to 4 mentors assisted the learners.

The findings of this study indicate that the delivery mechanism proved to be successful in improving participants’ confidence when using technology and an activity-led group-based setting is the most engaging when working with adult learners.

[1] P. Glister, “Digital Literacy”, New York: John Wiley, 1997.
[2] Doteveryone, Basic Digital Skills - UK Report 2015, Accessed 28 June, 2017. Retrieved from https://doteveryone-prod.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/Basic%20Digital%20Skills_UK%20Report%202015_131015_FINAL.pdf
[3] GOV.uk, Government Digital Inclusion Strategy, Accessed 28 June, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-digital-inclusion-strategy/government-digital-inclusion-strategy
[4] IM HAPPY website, Accessed 29 June, 2017. Retrieved from: www.imhappyni.com
author = {White, S. and Flynn, S. and Black, M. and Moore, A.},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.0365},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.0365},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {1085-1091}}
AU - S. White AU - S. Flynn AU - M. Black AU - A. Moore
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.0365
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 1085
EP - 1091
ER -
S. White, S. Flynn, M. Black, A. Moore (2017) DEVELOPING DIGITAL LITERACY IN ADULTS, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 1085-1091.