May 16, 2022

Higher Education: NMC Horizons Project Releases 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study

From NMC:

2017-11-01_09-31-30The NMC has released the 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief to uncover the learner’s perspective of how digital literacy training influences work life after graduation.

As a complement to the definitions and frameworks outlined in the NMC’s 2017 strategic brief on digital literacy in higher education, this new study examines digital literacy in action as learners enter the workforce. More than 700 recent graduates from 36 institutions responded to an NMC survey that addressed the experiences they gained at colleges and universities, and how their proficiencies or lack thereof have affected their careers.

Emphasis ours: Funding for this independent research endeavor and publication was provided by Adobe.

This study was initiated as a response to evolving in-demand skills and attributes within the workplace.

The results of the NMC survey identified that postgraduates were often instructed to consume information in their exposure to digital literacy, but received minimal or no training in the production of content in digital formats.

Just over a third of postgraduates reported feeling more accomplished in their profession because of exemplary digital literacy training as undergraduates, with four out of ten receiving a promotion within the last year. These findings have the potential to generate a stronger pedagogical movement towards digital creation and ownership.

Key Findings

Level of Undergraduate Training: “Advanced” + “Moderate” Combined Totals


Figure 1: Many postgraduates reported exposure to digital skills that require interpreting, evaluating, planning, and searching for information online. Most undergraduate curriculum degrees require learners to organize research findings and share for required course projects or assignments. Beyond this, Figure 1 identifies that a number of learners use technology and digital environments to work collaboratively with peers to manage complex problems, apply solutions, and generate ideas to reach their educational goals. (Source: NMC)

Level of Undergraduate Training: “No Training” + “Minimal Training” Combined Totals


Figure 2: The gaps in technology training for undergraduates are primarily concerned with digital production and responsible use. Figure 2 identifies that digital literacy development could encourage learners to design content with technology to deliver information, communicate ideas, and share stories in different media formats, such as mobile apps, podcasts, ebooks, videos, or graphics. (Source: NMC)

Direct to Full Text Report 
26 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.