What Is Digital Inclusion and Why Is It Important for Online Education?
Support on December 3, 2021
According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, digital inclusion is “the ability of individuals and groups to access and use information and communication technologies.”
In the information age in which we live, it’s one of the most important avenues for ensuring that everyone around the world can leverage the power of the internet. Those who are least likely to be digitally included include lower-income earners, the less educated, people with disabilities, and the elderly, and it’s these groups that need digital inclusion the most. Digital inclusion allows these groups to enjoy the benefit of digital services, provides numerous opportunities, and increases the quality of life across the board.
And while the number of fields that digital inclusion benefits are myriad, including health management and digital entrepreneurship, it’s online education that we want to focus on specifically.
How exactly does digital inclusion help with education?
Whereas schooling used to be limited to physical locations such as schools and campuses, digitalization and the proliferation of personal computing means that primary, secondary and tertiary learning can take place online. With a mobile phone or laptop and an internet connection, students can join the best and brightest learning institutions and get a world-class educational experience without having to leave their homes. In many cases, this also means that students can learn at their own pace. Digital inclusion means that more people than ever can have access to a high quality of education, regardless of their geographical location.
The internet and advanced communication technologies enable the continuation of learning beyond traditional schooling institutions, whether at home or even while working. Those with a thirst for knowledge can continue to expand their horizons and sharpen their skill sets with the seemingly endless – and in many cases free – educational content available. This means that learning doesn’t ever have to stop, and people are free to imbibe knowledge and increase their skill sets about anything they might be interested in.
More job opportunities and increased competitiveness in the workplace
The uptick of online educational opportunities naturally spills over into the workplace, where individuals, due to the education received as a result of being included digitally, are equipped with skill sets needed to compete and thrive in competitive work environments. As current times and demands change more rapidly, workers need more advanced sets of skills to stand out. The digital jobs on offer – and there are more being created every day – also allow workers to seek work outside of the traditional labor markets or workforce.
In the fast-paced information age that we found ourselves in, digital inclusion is critical to bringing modern communications technologies to people in all parts of the world, especially ones that are hardest to reach. The benefits are endless. From increased accessibility to online education, and the ability to continue the learning journey even once traditional studies have been concluded, to ways of building and honing industry-specific skillsets for the workplace, the game-changing nature of digital inclusion is hard to deny.