I have been teaching digital training sessions for almost 10 years, in various types of companies (big, small, international, global). I have also had the opportunity to teach in several universities and business schools.
So, I feel comfortable saying that my experience in this area is solid. Most companies are structured in terms of their different departments (communications, marketing, human resources…) and levels of hierarchy. Consequently, training usually follows these structures and digital training is no exception to this rule.
However, in the case of digital, this isn’t always particularly relevant.
Experience has taught me that the level of digital skills is absolutely not linked to these criteria, but rather to one’s personal use of digital.
The example of Miranda Lorikeet is an interesting illustration of this.
Miranda is a young Australian woman who is an assistant in the human resources department of a company. So far, nothing out of the ordinary…
She doesn’t find her job particularly exciting, but that’s not what is so interesting.
Miranda is better known on the web as LazyBones, and she has a real talent for drawing with Microsoft Paint.
If you have ever tried to use this native software program integrated into Windows, you’ll know how difficult it is to make precise drawings. So Miranda’s creations are true masterpieces.
This is probably why she has been successful in creating a real online community and has learned over time to manage it.
What is interesting in her case is that she has become an advanced user of digital tools (Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, to name a few).
Her hierarchy is totally unaware of the skill she has developed. Otherwise, her employer would have moved her into another position ages ago.
Miranda is just an example, but there are many similar examples out there.
A digital proficiency test should be conduction before any digital testing program, for several reasons.
1. Proficiency and expectations are not linked to hierarchical levels
The goal of any training program is to be effective and useful for the participants. But, if the proficiency levels and the expectations vary considerably, the content must vary as well.
In fact, groups should not be formed in a traditional fashion (by hierarchy), but by level of knowledge and understanding.
However, inasmuch as each participant is unable to define his own proficiency level, a well-prepared questionnaire and detailed analysis can accomplish this task and structure different groups by level.
This would avoid some people being bored while others are totally lost. And it would encourage people to ask questions, which can be an embarrassing moment when your colleagues seem to know much more than you do.
2. Your company already has its “digital champions”
Just like in Miranda’s case, there are many people with a higher-than-average level of digital proficiency. Their employers don’t benefit from these skills, and continue to recruit “digital experts” with huge salaries.
The interesting part is that I can think of many examples of people who could have changed fields and make use of their digital skills within the workplace, if they had been given a “digital assessment”.
There’s another case of someone working in human resources (again…), who started a renowned cooking blog. Once the employer discovered this person’s favorite pastime, she was fast-tracked into the company’s communications team.
Obviously, not everyone wants to mix his or her professional life and hobbies. But companies are full of these “treasures” and unaware of their presence. In the race to digital transformation, to ignore this valuable resource is to miss out on a golden opportunity.