The long-term effects of digital literacy programs for disadvantaged populations: analyzing participants’ perceptions

Azi Lev-On, Nili Steinfeld, Hama Abu-Kishk, Sigal Pearl Naim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to examine the long-term effects of an Israeli digital literacy government program for disadvantaged populations, as they are perceived by participants of the program one year after completing the course. Design/methodology/approach: Participants in the program were interviewed about the effects of participating in the program, their experiences and satisfaction, in retrospect, a year after they completed the program. Findings: The main reasons for joining the program included cognitive motivations, mainly interest to become familiar with internet applications, followed by employment aspiration. Positive benefits from participation included accumulated knowledge, confidence in using technology, empowerment and enhanced sense of self-efficacy. Interviewees also reported that as they could not practice or communicate with instructors once they completed the program, a significant portion of the accumulated gains faded. Social implications: Social and practical implications: Digital technologies constitute key infrastructure to facilitate public participation, as well as for gaining social, political and economic capital. Therefore, there is a significant social value in reducing digital inequality by increasing digital literacy of disadvantaged populations, i.e. citizens with low socioeconomic status and low digital literacy. This study sheds light on the benefits gained from such programs, as perceived by past participants. Originality/value: While previous studies evaluating digital literacy programs focus on specific technical improvements and short-term gains, this study investigates the long-term effects and shortcomings of the program as perceived by participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-162
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Digital divide (s)
  • Digital inequality
  • Digital literacy
  • Interviews
  • Media literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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