Why Are Computer Skills Important For Online Learning

There are so many opportunities for training in the web, but it can be a lot of work. Web classes and courses are changing the way we learn, but how much is that really the most effective way?

Why Are Computer Skills Important For Online Learning

It seems like a few people in my social circle are all super into a tech related talk group—mostly because I’m not. I enjoy watching Netflix and painting while sipping tea, but I don’t get too into the geeks and techies that are part of the “Twee networking” group, except when I know one of them. It wasn’t until this week that I learned they were all writing for a social cause and I thought, “What the heck’s going on with this?” 😉

I started reading in a little more detail to find out, and came across how the teachers needed to focus on computer skills like CSS and HTML, but on purpose. In a recent scientific study, Carl Rosburg, Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen, and Joaquin Figueras from the Engineering School of the Lisbon University, published their findings in the Science journal. The researchers set out to see why computer and programming skills are important to the education system.

Carl Rosburg was quoted in the article as saying:

“These findings suggest that computer and learning science are not separate fields, but need to be studied together to optimize the use of teaching time.”

We all understand what it takes to make software, and surely there’s a standard way of doing it—what’s more important is getting the basic skills right, and taking those skills into the workforce as you go.

As I read the rest of the article, I started to get really intrigued. While there’s a great amount of ideas and theories, a significant part of the study was geared to getting the test subjects on a set of instructor-created Macs and Windows computers at the Eastern California Software Training Institute. Rosburg and the other researchers wanted to see if students would be able to complete a C++ computer science course written on Adobe Acrobat. The tests were created for digital graduates who hoped to become computer professionals.

The study started with the students being asked basic questions like the words: “a computer.” According to the study, when all of the participants were asked about their ability to build a computer program, only 29 percent of the subjects could manage it correctly. However, when they were given a set of activities that weren’t assigned, that number jumped to 43 percent. There were some significantly different results, but the most notable (to me) was that the students who didn’t receive assigned activities saw their computer knowledge jump from 26 percent to 55 percent over the course of the study. These findings could be a fairly new discovery, but it’s definitely interesting.

When it comes to computer literacy, I think the lesson about the importance of having basic skills in the teaching of computer science should be given to anyone in the world who is curious enough to even try and learn the basics. Of course, understanding how to code and work with computers and how to construct a workable model (i.e. how to troubleshoot an application for a team or for individual users) is pretty essential for the future, but more of an intermediate skill. Don’t get me wrong—these are certainly important things to know. But these are also things people can learn on their own, from watching YouTube videos and spending time exploring the internet. What’s the big deal, right?

I think getting actual practical computer skills in the curriculum would benefit more than just the education system. By all means, teaching computer science should be a major priority for every university. When you combine that with other types of classes, like one where you learn how to use Google with basic human-type issues, and you can begin to understand the importance of it all.

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