What is DigitalLearn.org?
The Public Library Association's site, DigitalLearn.org, is an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant-funded project to create an online hub for digital literacy support and training. The site launched in June 2013 and is intended to build upon and foster the work of libraries and community organizations as they work to increase digital literacy across the nation. DigitalLearn.org was originally undertaken in partnership with ALA's Office of Information Technology Policy and Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, along with representatives from national agencies, state libraries, public libraries, community organizations, and many others.
Included in DigitalLearn.org is a collection of self-directed tutorials for end-users to increase their digital literacy. Feedback from public library staff directed PLA to develop courses on the most basic skills, such as using a computer, navigating a web site, and searching. Modules are video-based with narration, 6 to 22 minutes long, written in plain language (communication learners can understand the first time they hear or read it), and often at an elementary to middle school reading level. The modules help learners practice basic skills like using a mouse, creating an email address, navigating a website and more. Once learners have practiced the basics, they can move on to more specific topics to help them apply for a job, be productive, connect with friends and family, and to stay safe online. Intermediate courses include searching online for quality health information, using Microsoft Word, applying for jobs and much more! DigitalLearn.org provides intentional, foundational instruction to be taken at the pace of the learner. DigitalLearn.org courses can also be adapted to support other teaching methods, including instructor-led classroom instruction and just-in-time individual assistance.
In 2016, a new updated version of DigitalLearn.org launched in partnership with the Chicago Public Library. This partnership brought new functionality to the site, including the ability to stand up custom sites for organizations like the Chicago Public Library.
There is plenty in store for DigitalLearn.org in 2018 as well! PLA is working with the newly formed Digital Literacy Committee to identify numerous new course topics to add during the year. In addition, PLA is also planning on expanding its support to libraries with personalized DigitalLearn.org sites, including by providing customized analytical reports related to site usage, integrating Project Outcome with sites which will make it possible to assess and evaluate the site's effectiveness on improving the digital literacy of users, and also by developing additional templates that will more easily allow libraries to create new course content.
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Get DigitalLearn.org for Your Library
You can leverage PLA's premier digital literacy training site to empower the digital skills trainers in your library and the learners in your community by working with PLA to set up a DigitalLearn site for your library. Libraries that set up their own DigitalLearn sites get a branded digital literacy training web site, accessible to patrons at any time, that shows the library is providing digital literacy training as a service. The site can include any of DigitalLearn.org's growing collection of courses as well as custom course and page content from the library. Participating libraries can track and demonstrate impact through learner analytics, and learners visiting your library's site can create and personalize their course lists, tailor content through a course recommendation tool, track progress and receive certificates for course completions. If you are interested in creating your library's own DigitalLearn site, contact Leighann Wood at PLA via email or phone at 312.280.5867.
Want to support PLA's efforts to strengthen public libraries, community organizations, and the communities they serve? Your donation, volunteer time, or other assistance will help us improve DigitalLearn.org.
Spread the Word
We want as many people as possible to hear about DigitalLearn.org, so please spread the word through email, facebook, articles, blogs, webinars, conferences, or find your own unique way to let people know about the site. If you would like to have someone from the DigitalLearn team speak at your conference, do a webinar, or anything else to spread the word, contact us and let's see how we can help!
Meet the staff
Barb Macikas, Executive Director of the Public Library Association
Scott Allen, MS, Program Manager for the Public Library Association
Leighann Wood, Program Manager for the Public Library Association
CKD Technology Partners
Institute of Museum and Library Services
ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy
ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
Chicago Public Library Foundation