Next Generation User Skills

I saw the reference to this report on Joe Wilson’s blog, and found it an interesting read. Amid the rhetoric about the validity of concepts such as Digital Natives, GenY, Net Gen etc. an important issue is often overlooked – the need to address the development of skills and competencies required to work, learn and live online in the future. Too often this debate polarises people and disintegrates into arguments over skills vs integration etc.

The Next Generation User Skills Report focuses on the short term needs, looking at developments in the US, Europe and the UK, and looks at defining a basic set of skills and identifying the gaps that exist in provision. It takes account of:

  • Skills that all employers will need, which they may not currently recognise – including web presence, information productivity, market research, infrastructure management
  • Skills that people (especially young people) will already have, but which may not be recognised or accredited
  • Generic occupational skills that people will need – such as remote working, online communication, information research, lifelong learning and, not least, management of their digital environment
  • Essential skills for living and learning in a digital age – including communication, accessing public services and underpinning personal e- confidence.

The report contains some very useful charts and graphs that help illustrate the range of skills required, and where the gaps are. while written to inform what’s happening in the UK context, there’s plenty here that should be of interest to those in NZ who are endeavouring to address similar needs through the development of the multiliteracies framework, and the digital technologies framework etc.

9 thoughts on “Next Generation User Skills

  1. Cheers hope work is useful in context of NZ debate and would be interested to hear from any any NZ policy makers curriculum developers looking at life long learners.

    We’re trying to push rhetoric to one side and look at what folk need to know.

    Thanks for your kind words


    Piece has been reviewed in London and now NZ and they’re still reading it over in the Isles off West of Scotland 😉 (slainte Andrew)

  2. Where does this all fit in with key competencies? My understanding was that when we looked at the 21st century learner, the collective wisdom of teachers and education academics in NZ was that the key competencies represent a set of values/skills/attitudes that our students need for the 21st century. Are these now already superceded, or does this work simply bring specific detail to the key competencies?

  3. Conor – my view is that what is outlined in this report complements the key competencies, perhaps as a sub-set, but certainly they don’t supercede it. The key competencies provide the ‘macro view’ of the skills/attitudes/competencies/dispositions a student of today will ideally develop in order to grow as a contributing member of society. The focus on digital skills/literacy asks specifically what the subset of skills/attitudes/competencies/dispositions are that a student of today will require in order to function as a digitally literate member of society.

  4. I agree Derek, I found in fact that our Key Competencies only compared to the NGUS Competency groups, they then refined those further into 34 competencies. That is a big step in my view towards teaching and assessing these skills, although I believe the Key Competencies need revision too.

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