Gaining insight into what kind of support your users need is key. These needs should guide your digital inclusion project.
Supporting someone to improve their digital skills will need you to explore their access to a device and their connectivity (i.e. their access to the internet and data). This could be in the home, in public spaces, owned, loaned or shared.
You can use scoping questions throughout your project. They are helpful to set a baseline, understand needs and to measure success.
You can use or adapt these questions to help you gather information.
You may also help someone to access connectivity and a device if they don't currently have this. Here are some ideas from existing and emerging digital inclusion activities:
Having a connected device is one part of the digital inclusion jigsaw. Having skills and motivation are also fundamental.
Each person will have a different skill and confidence level. You will need to evaluate their base level to understand what support they will need from you.
Many people have never touched a device before and many more don’t feel confident in how to use it. It is important you check with everyone you support if they have foundation skills.
These are being able to:
You can use our Foundation Skills Checklist to help measure these skills.
Once someone feels confident with these skills you can encourage them to build on this. The next step will be to build essential digital skills for life.
There are five key digital skills that everyone needs to navigate daily life online. They will allow a person to enjoy the opportunities available to them on the internet.
It is important you make these skills meaningful to your clients. For example, you can reframe 'communicating' as 'keeping in touch with family'.
You can use our Essential Digital Skills for life checklist to help measure these skills.
You will need to motivate people by keeping your digital inclusion support person-centred. You must focus on what's important to them, rather than making it about 'doing digital'. They are more likely to want to engage and learn more.
You should find ‘the hook’ to help them with something in their life. For example, they may have a hobby that has useful free resources online. They may be feeling isolated, so you could help them set up and use video calling with friends. If they want to improve their health you could show them reliable information on the NHS website or apps.
Some motivation scoping questions are already built into the Essential Digital Skills Toolkit. Or, you can use and adapt these Confidence and Motivations questions to help you gather information:
Increase engagement by using existing community settings to promote Digital Champions
The impact when Hanover Housing Association supported their tenants to borrow a device with connectivity
by Ben Hallett, Hanover Housing Association
Guide from Money Saving Expert. Inlcludes types of broadband, speeds and data.
How to use the Digital Skills Checklist to build learner confidence
The impact of keeping digital inclusion support person-centred
by Sarah Neary, West of Scotland Housing Association
Building digital inclusion support around what users wanted
by Glenn Liddall, People Know How
BT Basic is a simple, low-cost phone service that is easy to understand and helps you keep in touch if you are on specific low income Government benefits.