Digital Fluency for Success in Work and Encores


Twice in one week.  It’s delightful seeing Lisa in person again.  Last week, her husband’s birthday celebration brought us together.  This week she and I are participating in Encore Connect: Your Roadmap to What’s Next.  Encore Connect is a three-hour interactive session for midlife and older adults to discover, retool, and connect to their next career step.  We have been volunteering for many months to help Bevan Rogel, Encore Tampa Bay CEO, reach out to groups to make them aware of this learning opportunity. 

I am excited to learn more myself from Kerry Hannon.  Hannon is a nationally known expert on career transitions and the “new” retirement, and author of ten books, including Getting the Job You Want After 50 for Dummies (it’s in the series of yellow and black 5-pound reference books for dummies on every topic imaginable). She will participate in an interview, then take questions from the audience, and sign copies of her book for attendees.

At least half the program will be self-directed. Participants will decide in the Roadmap area how to spend their time with human resources on employment, entrepreneurship, personal finances, the non-profit sector, and educational institutions in the area. The Women’s Learning Studio will be there, too!

Bentley_IMG_12941_1100pxWe want to make good use of our and attendees’ time and have some fun, too. To that end, we have portrait boards of Kung fu digital master, iPhone equipped Mona Lisa, and Couch-lounging remote worker among other personas. Visitors can use their phones to take selfies and pictures of friends in different disguises. My husband was happy to model with a portrait board.

Then we’ll get more serious.  We’ll be using information contained in a new study by Accenture titled Getting to Equal: How Digital is Helping Close the Gender Gap at Work. The study identifies the extent to which men and women use digital technologies and how they use them in their education and work.  Researchers use the Accenture Digital Fluency Model to trace the impact of the subjects’ digital fluency on their education, employment, and advancement.  Digital fluency is defined as “the extent to which people embrace and use digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective.”

The study documents the impact that digital fluency has on closing the gender gap between women and men in developed as well as developing nations.  Here’s how they defined the gender gap:

We looked at gender equality in the workplace through three specific areas: how women use education in preparing for work; how they do at finding and keeping a job; and how they do in advancing in their careers. In measuring women’s progress in education and workplace participation, we looked at data from the World Bank regarding education enrollment and labor participation rates. For advancement, we looked at pay as well as OECD rates of women in managerial roles. Our research shows that digital is helping to drive improvements in these areas for women.


While it soft-pedals a bit on the significance of the digital fluency factor in closing the gap, it concludes that there is:

ample evidence that it [digital fluency] is a key factor and acts as an accelerant in every stage of a person’s career — powerful in both education and employment, and increasingly important as women advance into the ranks of leadership. (emphasis added)

We have written many times in this blog about the importance of digital literacies for adult success in work,  learning, and  life. Jill Finsen, a good friend of ours at WLS and an artist, also explained how vital digital tools are to the business side of her encore career. We remain concerned with women and men becoming digitally fluent to enrich their lives in spirit and bank account.

Inspired by the Accenture study, we have adapted several of their points of inquiry to use in the following quiz for Roadmap participants.

It’s ten yes/no questions.  Please take it and let us know what it reveals to you.

How digitally fluent are you?

  1. Do you consider the internet (connecting technologies and World Wide Web) a must-have resource for your ongoing learning and development?       Yes                  No
  1. Do you learn through an online or open university, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), or free educational vendors?       Yes                      No
  1. Do you practice Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) with its Seek, Sense, Share sequence?  Yes                      No
  1. When you wish to master new concepts or ideas, do you watch recorded lectures—such as TED Talks and YouTube videos—or listen to podcasts online?        Yes                      No
  1. Do you use social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to learn from and connect with knowledgeable practitioners in your field?        Yes                      No
  1. When you seek a new career or job, are you looking online for work opportunities?       Yes                      No
  1. When you seek a new career or job, do you use LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social networks to learn about potential employers and work possibilities, and build new ties and strengthen old ones?         Yes                      No
  1. Do you communicate online with email, text messages (one-to-one and group), webcams & headset for high quality video and audio interactions?          Yes                      No
  1. Are you comfortable collaborating online to accomplish an important objective with a group of people whom you have not met?         Yes                      No
  1. Are you ready to lead teams/collaborations online with the right communication tools, collaboration platforms & routines?        Yes                      No


Resources used in this blog post:

Women’s Learning Studio blog

Accenture Study, “Getting to Equal: How Digital is Helping Close the Gender Gap at Work.” Released March 2016.

Alexas_Fotos at Pixabay

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