How does digital literacy help us to behave and manage in the era of digital transformation, data, social media, and AI, both as individuals and within our organisations?

Digital Literacy is one of the most important things for each of us individually, our society in a time when physical and digital are merging and our own organic nature and our digital twins coexist. This is even more relevant as the hegemony of AI and Fourth Industrial Revolution 4IR take over our social economic behaviour and redesign our existence.

What is the definition of digital literacy according to UNESCO?

Digital literacy involves the confident and critical use of a full range of digital technologies for information, communication and basic problem-solving in all aspects of life.”

Digital literacy is the present civilisation individual’s critical ability to find, evaluate, and communicate information by utilising multiple and increasingly hybrid interactions with technology tools and platforms and include typing, managing digital media, apps, hardware, software, social media, sensors, spatial computing, and hybrid AR, VR, MR platforms.

The concept and importance of digital literacy is increasingly more powerful as our human capabilities redefine our ID identity and how we and our organisations can move with living, learning, working, participating and thriving in a global society defined by tech society.

We are increasingly dependent on how we cope with digital transformation and how this shifts the society we all live in. The digital transformation wide concept is an area fundamental to dive into to understand how we can look at self-development, safe, effective, and person-centred 21st century wellbeing and social economic care.

When we speak about Digital Literacy and digital transformation, we need to look at the following:

  1. Digital ID, Life, wellbeing and career skills
  2. Digital footprint data ownership and management
  3. Information, media, data, technology, knowledge
  4. Digital transformation 360 — socio-economic and working skills.
  5. Learning and innovation skills
  6. Digital responsibility, ethics and behaviour

The Examples of Digital Literacy implicate that all we do in our lives increasingly impact the full scope of us as humans, the way we interact with each other, the way we interact with machines and is now asking us to:

  1. Manage a computer, tablet and smartphone and navigate applications.
  2. Find and open files in a variety of applications.
  3. Successfully perform online searches and research while being able to vet sources.
  4. Know how to master personal digital ID, reputation, cybersecurity and services.
  5. Know how to manage social media and digital online 360 public relations and how it impacts personal lives and the bridge between the personal, professional and related communities.
  6. Know the SWOT strengths, weights, opportunities, threats that come from digital lifestyle literacy.

When we speak about digital literacy we need to speak about these different types of digital literacy:

  1. Digital Information and data 360 literacy.
  2. Ethical and critical use of digital resources.
  3. Understanding the importance of digital ID and related footprints.
  4. Know how to behave and protect yourself online.
  5. Handling 360 digital communication.
  6. Understand and manage the risks of cyber security and Cyberbullying.

Digital literacy comprehends multiple ways to interact with digital interfaces and platforms — apps, social media, websites and AR, VR, MR and gaming important elements and preparation such as:

  1. Cognitive ways of interacting with digital interfaces and platforms.
  2. Confidence in how to interact with digital platforms and the people in the platforms.
  3. Cultural ways of interacting online and looking at digital etiquette or bias.
  4. Constructive or destructive ways to behave digitally.
  5. Communication and ways to relate with other people and organisations online.
  6. Civic and ethical ways to behave when it comes to digital behaviour.
  7. Critical ways to look at the way we behave with digital 360 experiences.
  8. Ways to look at our own uniqueness and Creativity.

These elements define the many digital and cyber literacy facets, that include comprehension, expectations, the increasingly blurred lines of digital culture, digital etiquette.

Why is digital literacy becoming increasingly important?

Over 3 billion people play games every day and over 600 million children play Roblox almost every day per hour. But these people don’t understand the separation between entertainment and digital literacy education. Digital literacy is more critical than ever as it can improve skills and help individuals understand the importance of securing their online information and the potential risks of cyber-attacks. It enables individuals to use tools such as firewalls, antivirus software, and two-factor authentication to secure their digital assets.

Build a Continuous Digital Mindset

Learning new technological skills is essential for digital transformation. But it is not enough. Each of us must be motivated to use these digital skills to create new opportunities. We all need a digital integrated mindset.

Psychologists describe mindset as a way of thinking and orienting to the world that shapes how we perceive, feel, and act. A digital mindset is a set of attitudes and behaviours that enable people and organisations to see how data, algorithms, and the tools and platforms that we define with artificial intelligence AI open up new possibilities and can allow us to get lost or to chart a path for success in a society and business landscape increasingly dominated by digital twins of physical and real with data-intensive and intelligent augmented technologies.

Developing a digital mindset is perhaps the most critical skill of our times and takes persistent work, but it’s worth the effort. It takes concrete and continued digital literacy efforts and education.

Each of us and the people who do so are more successful in their lives, jobs and have higher satisfaction at lifestyle, work, as they are more prepared for the continuous technological disruptions and therefore likely to get better options and get career and life readiness and being able to find new jobs or getting promoted. Digital literacy is not critical, is a mandatory necessary process and delivers useful skills that are portable for any lifestyle or contemporary person or organisation.

The Business Leaders who have a prepared digital mindset are the ones better able to set their organisations up for success and to build resilient strategic road maps for their core products, businesses, lifestyle and workforce. And companies that have digital transformations consciously, can react faster to the disruptions of economy, technology and get ready for the radical shifts in the business worlds, market and are well positioned to take advantage of new business opportunities.

Digital transformation implies change management, and often encounters fear and resistance, and early missteps are something inevitable. But companies that adapt digital transformation strategies will do best when they focus on these critical areas:

1. Continuous preparing workforce and teams for a new digital organisational culture

2. Design and aligning digital literacy processes, systems and processes and keep improving processes . Each of us needs to work and build a road map for developing digital mindsets in existing talent pools and aligning systems and processes to capitalise on digital proficiency.

Digital Literacy abc.png
Digital Litreracy abc. Infographic by Dinis Guarda, Founder and CEO of ztudium

Building a Continuous-Learning Culture case study

Companies such the Dutch giant light and health services Philips have faced transitioned its core competency from supplying health products to providing digital solutions. To bring their employees along, they needed to create a continuous-learning environment. Philips for this partnered with Cornerstone OnDemand, a cloud-based learning and HR software provider, to build a digital process that includes AI-powered infrastructure that adapts to learners’ specific needs and pace. With these tools Philips employees can share “playlists” of tailored lessons with colleagues, just as they share playlists on music-streaming services. The platform’s offered digital tools such as social media function UI UX digital experiences that facilitates connection between new employees and more-experienced members who can serve as mentors, fostering more-organic peer-mentor relationships than formal matching programs do.

Digital Literacy and Radical Digital Transformation

Digital Literacy, especially with the increased power of AI, represents the biggest disruption in the history of humanity and opens new strong opportunities and challenges. We spend around 10 to 12 hours with devices, alone or with family and businesses: computers, mobile phones, tablets, TV integrated internet hybrid devices. The list goes on and the challenge is that we still lack basic digital literacy education and coaching.

Digital Literacy education needs to look at all the areas that come with the Radical Digital Transformation we all are facing as individuals, organisations and society.

This digital radical digital transformation is creating the following issues:

Digital Divide

The Digital divide is one of the biggest issues of our society and can create serious disruptions in our world's economic and social models as the gap between people in society who have full access to the internet, digital technologies (such as basic internet and advanced computers) and those who do not increases dangerously.

Digital Obesity

Digital obesity is one major present negative factor already present in society as people over consume. Digital (all kinds of content information and digital interactions and platforms experiences), not giving enough consideration, conscience and rest. This over consuming (of digital and information), not giving enough consideration or rest is a paradox we are facing similar to the invention of TV but in this case with bigger consequences related with wellness, physical and mental issues and augmented with the more radical dangers of our civilisation of lack of sense of reality, fake news and over manipulation of digital platforms and the related impacts of society, health, democracy and economy.

Issues coming from Radical Digital transformation

One of the biggest issues is how we tackle the disruptive issues coming from radical digital transformation in life work balance. This process by which individuals, organisations and companies coexist with embed technologies across their lives and businesses to manage and drive fundamental radical digital transformation change and adaptation.

Even if the possible benefits with digital tools and technology are massive the issues are much more concerning and radical digital transformation requires continuous process, change management and deep education and adaptation. If well managed it can create increased productivity, efficiency, greater personal and business agility and, ultimately, the unlocking of new value for society, our business and organisations, customers and shareholders.

Digital literacy and AI generative language models that rewrite how we learn and process knowledge

AI generative language models are creating new digital 360 impactful radically ways to change how we think, act and operate. They are and will increasingly change the way we behave and act as humans. The way we process and acquire knowledge and in some ways are over passing our own thinking and capacity to react.

Solving issues around digital literacy is crucial in today’s technology-AI-driven and increasingly disrupting technological social economic world. Digital literacy is not only critical for all of us but is dramatically important as it encompasses the new range of behaviours, skills and knowledge that is required for humanity in the next stage of techno socio-economic new models to effectively and responsibly use the tools of our times — digital tools and resources.

This needs to be the focus of each one of us as we lose ground to understand the velocity of change and how technological corporations can destroy our civilisation human models and replace them with some Blade Runner or worse, a Terminator dystopian society.

The only way to avoid these scenarios that science fiction has been writing in the last 100 years is to override the narrative of humanity with digital literacy that makes us conscious of the risks and possibilities and act now and in continuity. As technology does not stop change, we as humans need to continuously adapt and change. Bellow are some steps and strategies to address digital literacy issues:

Continuous Education and Digital Awareness: Education is now digital and required to implement comprehensive digital literacy programs in families, schools, colleges, businesses and communities. The call to action is to raise continuous awareness about the radical need and importance of digital literacy and its impact on each of us individuals, our businesses and society.

Regular Accessible Training and access to Digital Resources: Provide regular and continuous accessible digital practical training and resources for people of all ages and backgrounds. Integrate digital healthy habits and focus on online process driven and focus on results courses, practical daily social digital workshops, and integrate digital transformation tailored tutorials on digital skills.

Digital Literacy Tailored Curriculum: This one is one of the most important areas — to integrate digital literacy into the standard educational curriculum. Learn and get the important teaching not only how to use the digital tools and technology but also adapt focus driven strategic critical thinking, integrating online safety, and ethical behaviour online.

Use Open Common Source Digital organisations Digital tools Centers and Libraries: Engage and establish active civic personal and social rituals to participate and engage in digital literacy centres in libraries and community centres. These places and centres have multiple available digital tools and people that help and provide access to good internet connection, access to books, computers and will offer digital assistance and training.

Integrate Digital Literacy in Public-Private Partnerships: Collaborate with technology companies and nonprofits to develop and deliver digital literacy initiatives. These partnerships can help bridge the digital divide.

Customised Digital Strategic and Custom Learning: Recognize that people have different levels of digital literacy and different needs. Tailor training and resources to the specific needs of different groups.

Careful Online Safety Education: Teach individuals about online safety, including recognizing and avoiding scams, protecting personal information, and dealing with cyberbullying.

Acquire Continuous Critical Thinking and Digital and Media Literacy: Help people develop critical thinking skills to evaluate information and sources online. Promote media literacy to understand the influence of media and advertising.

Digital Inclusivity and Accessibility: Ensure that digital resources and training are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Consider factors such as assistive technology and alternative formats.

Continuous Digital Learning: Recognise that technology is constantly evolving, and digital literacy is an ongoing process. Encourage individuals to stay up-to-date with new technologies and digital trends.

Parent and Caregiver Digital Education: Provide resources and training for parents and caregivers to support their children’s digital literacy and online safety.

Digital Understanding of Technological Evaluation and Assessment: Continuously assess the effectiveness of digital literacy programs. Adapt and improve programs based on feedback and outcomes.

Promote Digital Ethical Behaviour: Teach the importance of responsible and ethical behaviour online, including respecting others’ privacy and intellectual property.

These steps are not easy but are critical. Digital transformation is now the new second skill of Humanity. All the present civilisations are already spending more time with machine technological devices than with other humans. Getting aware of this and finding the best ways to solve critical digital literacy issues is paramount. This requires action! This requires all of us humans to be conscious of change, velocity and digital as part of our DNA.

Digital literacy is a critical element for the world as the speed of digitalization in the last couple of decades has improved exponentially the living standards and conditions in a variety of geographies across the globe. But unfortunately with digital transformation large groups of people have been left outside of the current wave of innovations and access to understanding how to use these digital tools and how to be empowered by its amazing capabilities. To mitigate this disparity, each of us, global entities, such as the UN need take an educational proactive stance to ensure that each of us and any individuals with little or no digital literacy are up to par with the New Age of digital developments and special the present age of AI preventing further gaps in economic and lifestyle and in our very own humanity advancement.

We need a multi-faceted digital Literacy approach that involves each of us, our families, businesses, governments, educational institutions, and communities. First of all, each of us must understand the urgency of Digital Literacy, and after working together and continuously to ensure that you and I, everyone has the digital skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the present 4IR, AI digital age.