5 Ways Online Students Are Improving Study Skills with Digital Literacy

Amy crunches the numbers for her hair salon

Today’s society has the tools available to do things faster and smarter than any generation before. Unfortunately, lack of comfort with these tools can prevent people from taking full advantage of them.

The good news: Improving digital literacy is not as difficult as you might think. Here are five easy and free ways to boost study skills today and jobs skills for tomorrow.

Get Your Head in the Cloud

Leaning systems such as Ashford Mobile and the Constellation® Platform allow adult learners to master a skill many of today’s elementary school students are dabbling in: cloud computing.

Both Ashford systems make heavy use of cloud computing, meaning that much of students’ work is stored on Ashford’s systems. The benefit is access from any device and seamless integration no matter where or how you next sign on. The downside is the sometimes-awkward feel for students who didn’t grow up with computers.

In an era when assignments such as producing book reports on Google Docs, or presentations in platforms such as Animoto, have filtered down to as early as fourth grade, it’s essential that adults master the cloud.

I’ll Just Google That

It’s one thing to be able to call up your favorite search engine and eventually find the information you need. It’s another to be able to do it without wading through useless information and dead ends.

For time-crunched college students, this second skill is essential. Learn to use operations signs that will help you hone in on relevant information. If you’re looking for the history of salsa dancing, why waste your time with pages of recipes?

Putting quote marks around exact terms is another great time-saving trick. This step will yield search results for “Benjamin Franklin,” for example, instead of articles that mention both terms separately.

Take Note

Earlier, we mentioned Ashford’s Constellation platform. Part of its power is in the ability to take digital notes. Most eReaders and other electronic devices allow you to take notes as well, and the capability saves time when you’re ready to produce a final report.

Simply export your notes to your word-processing program – or to a cloud application – and you’re halfway there with your rough draft!

Mastering On-Screen Reading

Though most experts agree that it’s crucial for today’s students to master both paper and digital reading, online learners have a distinct leg up on students at brick-and-mortar colleges when it comes to cultivating the latter.

For numerous reasons, including the fact that turning pages appears to be less-taxing in a paper book, digital reading skills can be more challenging to master. Simply put, digital reading can require a bit more effort. Students who can train their brains to put forth that effort might have an advantage in a world where an ever-increasing percentage of information is presented on-screen.

Typing Skills Matter

Some of today’s adults grew up with a “you must take typing” edict. Turns out, they’re the lucky ones.

It’s boring and repetitious, but taking typing lessons ultimately pays off in terms of speed and accuracy of work. Those, in turn, add up to increased productivity in college and beyond.

There are many online typing tutorials, such as powertyping.com, that will let you backtrack on the lessons you missed. Practicing just a few minutes each day will lead quickly to improvement.

In general, college students who invest time in improving their digital literacy through skills such as cloud computing, search capabilities, and typing speed will see tremendous benefits that continue to pay off in the workforce.


Written by Ashford University staff

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