Rasmussen College Digital Literacy Survey Finds Americans Overwhelmed by Technology, Yet Can’t Live Without It

College releases survey results that indicate conflicted feelings about technology

Minneapolis (March 12, 2015)–Rasmussen College, a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation, today released the results of a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults and their feelings about the Internet. Highlights of the findings were published in a digital infographic, “Digital Literacy in 2015: America’s Complicated Relationship with the Internet,” that illustrates how Americans feel about technology and how it’s altered the way we communicate, consume information and work.

Rasmussen College commissioned the study in January 2015. Responses demonstrate that Americans still struggle with digital literacy—more than half of respondents (59 percent) admitted they find the Internet overwhelming, yet 68 percent said they could not live without it.

“The study’s findings align with what we consistently hear from employers—there is a need for Americans to be more digitally fluent—a competency Rasmussen College is focused on making sure its students master before graduation,” said Brooks Doherty, dean of the School of Business and General Education at Rasmussen College. “More than a quarter (27 percent) of survey respondents told us they would look to improve their professional skills and job prospects by using software such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint—yet many didn’t know where to go for help. At the same time, 97 percent of the employers we work with at Rasmussen College say digital fluency is a key competency for 21st-century workers. That’s why Rasmussen College has created degree options such as the Flex Choice learning option and its recently redesigned Business Management degrees—to help meet those needs.”

Survey Highlights:

Barriers to Improvement

  • Nearly three in 10 respondents (28 percent) said they couldn't afford to take a course. 
  • Almost one-quarter (23 percent) said they didn’t know where to go for help.
  • Another 11 percent said they were too embarrassed to admit they don’t know how to do certain things online.
  • Yet, respondents recognize they need to improve their digital literacy skills to do their current job better (31 percent) or find a better job (31 percent).

Younger Generation More Fearful of Internet than Older Generations

  • Approximately 37 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds said they found the Internet scary while 35 percent admitted they do not feel safe online. This compares with approximately 28 percent of 35-54-year-olds and those over 55-years-old who said they don’t feel safe online.
  • When it comes to Internet usage, safety and security concerns top the list—71 percent of respondents said they worry about computer viruses and 68 percent said they are worried about someone stealing their personal information online.
  • Yet, 26 percent of survey takers admit they use the same password on multiple sites and, therefore, are not doing all they can to protect themselves online.

“Nothing is more critical in today’s high-technology world than knowing how to safely use the Internet and navigate various forms of digital content,” Doherty said. “To prepare our students for this digital workforce, Rasmussen College made the transition from printed course materials to digital. Currently, about 85 percent of our courses utilize electronic books and materials. We have also expanded our digital library resources to include more than 200,000 eTextbooks in addition to millions of scholarly articles and eResources while our librarians interact with students daily through live chats and the text-a-librarian service. Our students will engage with digital content from the time they enter the workforce through retirement. We are committed to teaching them how to do that effectively and safely before they leave Rasmussen College.”

To learn more about Rasmussen College, please visit http://www.rasmussen.edu/.

To learn more about the Rasmussen College digital literacy survey, please visit http://www.rasmussen.edu/resources/digital-literacy-in-america/

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Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation that is dedicated to changing lives through high-demand educational programs and public service. Rasmussen College offers Certificate and Diploma programs through Associate\'s and Bachelor\'s degrees online and across its 24 Midwest and Florida campuses in a supportive, student-centered and career-focused environment. Since 1900, Rasmussen College has been dedicated to being a primary contributor to the growth and development of the communities it serves. As a Benefit Corporation, Rasmussen College is committed to helping change lives through education and making a positive impact on society through public service and a variety of community-based initiatives. For more information about Rasmussen College, please visit www.Rasmussen.edu.

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation.

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