An Alternative Approach in the Use of e-Learning for Digital Inclusion

An article by David Casacuberta which talks about digital inclusion on an alternative approach different to the usual hardware issues approach – something I’ve subscribed to on different times.

He argues that two main aspects should lead our digital inclusion projects design:

  • Overcoming mental barriers (as opposed to simply technological ones)
  • Focusing on capacity empowerment (as opposed to immediate use)

He then recommends five strategies in the use of e-learning for digital inclusion:

  • Strategy of combining teaching ICT with other non-digital knowledge equally important to social inclusion. I totally agree. Learning ICT use just per se usually does not make sense, just as jogging around if you were not told it will improve your health.
  • Communication strategy. Get yourself being known, on and off-line. Trivial ;)
  • Peer to peer teaching strategy. There surely are lots of benefits in doing this. Sustainability might be the first one, as once you’ve trained someone in something, there’s a positive multiplicator effect on converting the trained in a trainer. Nevertheless, I guess the role of the promoter is much more important, as a peer of yours might be the only one to be trusted in “selling” you ICTs’ benefits. On the other hand, it will surely improve the design of the project: even if you did it quite perfect, only the end user can improve it by his or her own experience. Making him take part of the project should be a must, not only an if.
  • Creation of an informal environments strategy. To reduce intimidation effect of too much formal learning.
  • Teaching strategy based on cultural or gender empathy. Say: be empathetic. The role of the promoter and the peer and so I was talking about before ;)

The article is the summary of David Casacuberta’s article Digital Inclusion: Best practices from e-Learning ( 102 Kb) presented at the e-Learning for e-Inclusion Conference (where there’s also a presentation of mine ;)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2005) “An Alternative Approach in the Use of e-Learning for Digital Inclusion” In ICTlogy, #17, February 2005. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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