Thing 16: Learning digitally

In this thing, you’ll develop your understanding of what digital learning is and assess your own capabilities.

Open Badge information

Open Badge: SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 16: Learning Digitally

Counts towards: SSSC 23 Things Digital – Digital learner


Traditional ways of learning such as learning from books, attending training courses and classroom-based approaches rely on economic and social factors as well as underlying skills which many people take for granted, including:

  • the means to access the site of learning such as a school/training course venue and the learning content (for example, literacy/numeracy)
  • an understanding of appropriate behaviour and customs in the learning community
  • protected time and space
  • access to resources, for example, books, worksheets, materials
  • the ability to appraise the quality and reliability of resources.

In his article The Disruption of Digital Learning: Ten Things We Have Learned, Josh Bersin said that ‘Digital Learning does not mean learning on your phone, it means bringing learning to where employees are. It is a way of learning, not a type of learning.’

There are many potential sources of digital learning like online video tutorials, Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), formal elearning modules provided by your employer, Open Educational Resources like 23 Things, podcasts and websites. To make best use of these, it’s important to reflect on and develop the skillset needed to be a successful digital learner.

It’s important to remember the focus of digital learning should always be the learner and their learning. It’s very easy for the focus to shift to the technology and the medium itself and this detracts from the learning. For many people, their early experiences of poorly-designed, un-engaging elearning content left them feeling at best uninspired and at worst, put off from the idea of learning digitally.


a) The characteristics of successful digital learners.

In his 2008 book ‘E-learning skills’, Alan Clarke identified the following characteristics of a successful elearner. These were:

  • having self-confidence
  • being motivated
  • having a positive attitude
  • possessing good communication skills
  • being a good collaborator
  • being a competent user of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Consider each characteristic in turn and using this self-assessment form, rate your own abilities and what you think would help improve your scores.

b) Your digital learning experience.

Think about your own digital learning experience. What have been the most positive and least positive aspects of your journey so far and why? Most importantly, think about what you learned and how you learned it.

c) Blog.

Write a blog entry of at least 100 words reflecting on the above activities and consider in what ways, if any, the characteristics identified by Clarke in part (a) differ from those of a successful learner with a more traditional approach? You should also consider to what extent you feel your organisation currently supports and facilitates your development as a digital learner.

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