On-line Collaboration Skills at WorkRelevant Certification is the Answer

Certification itself no, but relevant certification is very effective tool where it is properly applied. It calls forth a host of activities that make it feasible to get what is needed into the workplace.

What does it take?

For the workplace it requires a definition of which computer use skills are really required. That has to do with generic skills that can be applied within many contexts using everything from the personal desktop productivity tools, the interfaces to automated processes and to corporate systems. Many of these basic skills are reflected in the common desktop software. But competent workers also need to know some of the concepts and terminology around the technology, its capability, application, and security. They need to be able to collaborate.

Once there is a defined standard pointing to computer use skills that are relevant to the workplace, there needs to be a means for keeping this definition current while technology and its applications march forward. That, in turn, affects the training materials and testing efforts that have to evolve at the same rate.

Skilled individuals and potential employers need to know how to find each other.

Employers need to be able to recognize individuals that actually possess these skills, a further motive for the certification standard.  In turn, when employers use the certification in their recruiting they call forth a greater supply of those who have achieved the standard.

What does ICDL achieve?

A few years ago, 30 employers gathered to consider their ongoing use of the ECDL/ICDL Certification and how important it might be to continue. They agreed that using and promoting the standard within their organizations achieved:

  • Faster pay-back of IT-investments
  • Increased productivity and corporate competitiveness
  • Training results that can be measured and bench-marked
  • Fewer PC-problems, reduced trivial support requests to help desk
  • Improved overall time constant for getting tasks done
  • Increased corporate speed, particularly in administration
  • Increased quality of administration and IT output
  • International recognition of ICDL
  • A standard for employee recruitment
  • A most cost-effective method
    • Significantly lower costs than most alternatives
  • Increases organization-wide support toward technical innovation and change
  • Improved attraction and retention of employees
    • The employer is visibly helping employees to remain marketable in their careers

Teamwork is critical

Recent arguments add to this, particularly the need for strong computer use skills in organizations where teamwork is critical. The ability of individuals to participate in group analysis, idea generation, communication and reporting requires many things, not the least of which is strong fundamental skills in use of ICT.  The confidence of participants to play their part requires that they can effectively use the best technology available. ICDL's Online Collaboration Module is another strong addition to the offerings.

Slow adoption of computer use technology

Slow adoption of newer technology has great security implications for employers. See Computer users' skills can effect security for more on how computer use skills affect this adoption rate.

Learning organizations depend on technology use skills

The worldwide recession caused a shakeout of less productive organizations and this was predicted to continue through the recovery period. Maintaining or growing the mandate a local organization is given depends on growing its innovation and productivity. In so called "lean" organizations the process demands continuous improvement. This requires workers who are capable of e-learning, self-paced learning and participating effectively in group learning – all very difficult things to do without underlying strength in computer use skills.

In the words of the President of the European Commission, José Barroso,
"…the ability to use computers is now a crucial aspect of most people's careers, and therefore their prospects in life. So digital literacy is a major factor of economic success for both individuals and communities…people who do not have the knowledge and skills to use the technology will tend to fall by the wayside".