Article written by Emma, Curriculum Lead for Digital & Science
I wanted to feel more confident in using the computer. I was afraid to touch it, afraid to go on the internet to buy something and to research things but now I can buy things and I don’t need to depend on other people to help me.Norma, Essential Digital Skills Learner
Our new Essential Digital Skills courses (accredited by Gateway Qualifications) are specifically designed for adults with little or no digital skills, who want to join the digital world by learning digital skills for life, their work or for use in further study.
I met up with Joanne, Norma, Audrey, Ola and Carolyn who started their course in late March 2021 at ACL Harlow to find out about their experiences of the course so far. What I found out was that with the help of their tutor Catherine Kelly, these learners felt empowered, and were confident and excited about how they will use their newly acquired skills to make accessing the digital world so much easier for them.
Why did you want to join the Essential Digital Skills course?
Norma: I wanted to feel more confident in using the computer. I was afraid to touch it, afraid to go on the internet to buy something and to research things but now I can buy things and I don’t need to depend on other people to help me. I joined because I was doing English and maths lessons online and it was really hard if I didn’t have my son around me to help but not anymore!
Carolyn: I’m a senior citizen and I felt like I needed to brush up on using files and how to manage them. So, I’ve learned how to open, rename, erase, and move files into folders. It’s quite useful for me and if you don’t use it, you lose it!
Joanne: I joined because I wanted to get my head around actually going on a computer myself and trying not to use every single family member as my Alexa. I want to be independent and perhaps get a better job and catch up with the rest of the world. I felt like I was stuck in a tower away from everybody else. Everyone around me was buying clothes and new home stuff and I didn’t have a clue.
Audrey: I joined this course to learn digital skills. I’ve only had the internet at home for a week so it’s still really new. I still have a little trouble finding my way around my smartphone, but everything is moving online like banking and shopping. You know, all the sorts of things we need especially as an older person. It was 95-year-old father who brought me into the 21st century with my first smartphone!
What are you enjoying most about the course so far?
Ola: I’ve enjoyed moving my files around on the USB drive. I’m learning to be a DJ and it’s been really difficult for me to use the USB drive so now I can create a file and move my songs. It’s been so much fun, and I can have all my music on one little device.
What are the more challenging aspects of the course?
Joanne: I think finding websites like using WWW and using @ buttons, it’s always scared me but there are easier ways and we are learning how to find something on the internet without having to put the whole address in.
Ola: I think it’s about remembering how to go about stuff. For example, I have learnt that you can always use the back button. When I’m stuck and thinking that a search result has disappeared, I remember that I can use the back button.
Norma: My challenge was when I needed to move documents from one folder to another or to rename the folder but I’m happy I can do it now.
Audrey: We’ve been using LearnMyWay and it’s very good. It’s self-explanatory really and you just follow the instructions.
Would you recommend the course to others who would like to develop their digital skills and build their confidence in those skills?
A resounding yes from the whole group!
Do you know someone who lacks confidence engaging with technology?
It’s becoming increasingly important to use technology to stay in touch with one another, buying goods and services, and accessing important information. Some of us need help to feel confident and safe doing this.
Delivered in our centres across Essex, we offer FREE Digital & Computer Skills courses to help people:
- Improve understanding of their devices
- Help people communicate online with family and friends
- Feel more secure browsing the internet
- Gain the advice, support and guidance they need