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Getting started with Technical Literacy

In a world of abundance, how does one determine which skills, particularly digital skills, to actively pursue?

October 22, 2019

We are all learners, aren’t we?  Sometimes we inadvertently learn – like when we touched a hot surface for the first time and learned never to do that again!  Sometimes we learn organically, and sometimes we learn out of necessity: at school, we learned in a structured way. All of this is additive learning and provides us with common sense, values, data, life-skills, job-skills, relationship skills…and the list goes on.

The advent of technology, together with the introduction of the internet, has led to the proliferation of information, which leads us to another skill: filtering. There is an ABUNDANCE of content; finding content is not a problem. It is the filtering of content into something meaningful, truthful, and relevant that has value and it is an important skill for all of us.

So in a world of abundance, how does one determine which skills, particularly digital skills, to actively pursue? 

At NetHope, we started with a body of research to figure out the digital skills that were most important in the world today and in the future. That research led to the creation of a Digital Skills Framework.

This gives us a way to organize our thinking around skills. But even with a framework, you must start somewhere. So, we created a Digital Nonprofit Skills survey (DNS) which was taken by over 400 individuals across 37 organizations and every role and region. The results, compiled in a white paper sponsored by #ImpactCloud, have served as a benchmark across the nonprofit sector and validated both the framework and the gaps in skills. Our research showed that the top three areas for nonprofits include: Digital Responsibility, or protecting your information and the information of others; Highly Adaptive Collaboration—or being able to change direction quickly when new information is discovered; and Entrepreneurial Spirit—or having a safe environment to try new things and fail, in order to innovate.

These are all critical skills. But overall, the foundation for the framework begins with Technical Literacy. Technical Literacy recognizes that everyone in an organization needs to have some base level of technical skills. We no longer work in a world where a central IT department can house all the digital skills. You cannot develop skills around Digital Responsibility, Highly-Adaptive Collaboration, or Entrepreneurial Spirit without having the right baseline of Technical Literacy.

We aren’t learning content experts. But we are good at bringing experts to the table in a partnership to bring the right set of learning to our members—and increasingly to the nonprofit sector as a whole.

To create this, NetHope brought together Humentum, Pluralsight, and TechSoup, and we collaborated to create a learning track that far exceeded our expectations! These learning experts always put the learner at the center of their designs and decisions, and as a result, the track is practical, usable, and very affordable. 

We all need to build our digital skills, whether we are just getting started or whether we need to add to our portfolio of skills.  It is critical now and will continue to be critical in the future; staying relevant means an ongoing learning journey. We’ve done the heavy lifting to do the filtering. We think it is meaningful, truthful, and relevant—and we think you will too.

So, go check it out

We think you’ll like what you see, and more importantly what you can learn!

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