January 26, 2022

Digital Literacy: Pew Research Releases “Digital Readiness Gap” Report

From Pew Research:

Americans fall along a spectrum of preparedness when it comes to using tech tools to pursue learning online, and many are not eager or ready to take the plunge.

In this report, we use newly released Pew Research Center survey findings to address a related issue: digital readiness. The new analysis explores the attitudes and behaviors that underpin people’s preparedness and comfort in using digital tools for learning as we measured it in a survey about people’s activities for personal learning.

Specifically, we assess American adults according to five main factors: their confidence in using computers, their facility with getting new technology to work, their use of digital tools for learning, their ability to determine the trustworthiness of online information, and their familiarity with contemporary “education tech” terms. It is important to note that the findings here just cover people’s learning activities in digital spaces and do not address the full range of important things that people can do online or their “readiness” to perform them.

Digital readiness: The five groups along a spectrum from least ready to most ready


Another way to understand digital readiness and its connection to use of tech tools in learning is to simply compare measures of digital readiness to the likelihood people use digital tools to pursue personal learning. This section does that by looking at:

1)  Whether people used the internet in the course of their personal learning in the previous 12 months. Overall, 52% of personal learners (or 38% of all adults) had used the internet as a tool in learning activities they pursued for their own interests.

2)  Whether people had taken an online course of any sort in the past 12 months. Some 16% of all adults had done this.

Library users and the highly wired are more likely to use the internet in personal learning

Library users and the highly wired are more likely to have taken an online course

The report is organized into the following sections:

From the Methodology:

The analysis in this report is based on a Pew Research Center survey conducted from Oct. 13 to Nov. 15, 2015, among a national sample of 2,752 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Fully 963 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 1,789 were interviewed on a cellphone, including 1,059 who had no landline telephone.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.