CHICAGO — After months of thoughtful planning, development and beta testing, DigitalLearn.org has officially launched. This online hub for digital literacy offers an active community of practice and an evolving collection of training resources for those who teach and support digital learners. DigitalLearn.org is managed by the Public Library Association (PLA) and funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It receives ongoing support from the ALA Office of Information Technology and Policy, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies and the input of committee members from a diverse array of organizations.
“A 2012 Pew Internet and American Life Project study identified that one in five American adults does not use the Internet, yet more and more aspects of life are going online—from job hunting to filing government forms, to engaging with friends and family,” said Barbara Macikas, PLA executive director. “The benefit of having a central site for both training materials and resource sharing guarantees that when these individuals visit the library and other training centers for help in navigating the digital world, staff is ready to meet the demand.“
There are two main branches to DigitalLearn.org. The first leads to self-directed, interactive trainings. These online classes can be used independently by digital learners or can complement in-person classes. The second branch of the site allows those that teach and support digital literacy to share resources and best practices, work collaboratively, seek input from others in the field and more. Organizations can even create their own unique online groups to centralize information, calendars, resources and discussions for their staff and volunteers.
Central to the success of DigitalLearn.org is community engagement and participation from digital literacy trainers and supporters. PLA is actively seeking volunteers to join the community of practice, develop online classes, share ideas, and promote the site as well as funders for support of operating expenses and sustainability. Visit the site for details.
PLA is a division of the American Library Association. PLA’s core purpose is to strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve, and its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning.