8 ways to improve your digital skills

8 ways to improve your digital skills

No more excuses. No more procrastination. It’s time for you to figure out how to google, email, and get your head around that new digital banking app. 

But don’t stress. Even if you’ve never opened an email or ‘done a tweet,’ learning the essential online skills is actually a piece of cake. 

Simply follow these 8 steps. They outline the quickest and easiest ways to go from a digital novice to a digital native.

1. Take a free online course

Improving your digital skills doesn’t have to cost much. In fact, you can level up your laptop skills for free. There are hundreds of free online skills courses catering to complete newbies. Visit the National Careers Service to get started. It offers six free online courses covering basic computing skills, applying for jobs online, how to use Word and Excel, and much more.

Use your local library

Your local library is likely to offer free computer usage as well as courses for you to learn more skills. You may have to book a time slot but there are lots of resources available.

2. Ask for help

Ask one of your digitally savvy friends or relatives for help if you’re struggling to do anything online. After all, that’s what friends and family are for. And don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know how to google, cut and paste, or log into your online banking. We’ve all gotta start somewhere, and this internet ‘thing’ is much easier than you think.

3. Speak to your bank

You’ve probably noticed that high-street banks are shrinking or disappearing. It’s because the future of banking is digital. Soon, nearly all of our banking services will be online. So you need to figure this stuff out. Speak to your bank directly for advice. Lloyds, Santander, Halifax, and many more banks now offer free digital skills courses. Alternatively, the nice people inside the branch will be happy to show you the basics, including how to log in online with card readers or download banking apps.

4. Have fun

Learning doesn’t have to be boring. Maureen Butcher, 77, from Redditch, Worcestershire, started playing brain training games on a tablet her grandson bought her for Christmas. Now, she’s hardly ever off it. “I just started picking things up the more I was on it,” said Maureen. “Now I can email, send messages on Facebook, and log into video calls with my grandkids in Australia. And I can watch Eastenders on Iplayer whenever I want now. It’s brilliant.”

5. Build an online presence

Setting up an Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter account are excellent ways to enhance your digital skills. You’ll learn how to log in to accounts, create passwords, upload pictures, and message friends and family instantly and for free. Just don’t spend too much time there. Social media is great, but only in small doses. Rage posting, angry Facebook rants, and doom scrolling (purposefully exposing yourself to stuff that annoys you) are some of the modern ‘digital habits’ you’re better off not having.

6. Join a group

There are tonnes of locally funded groups and workshops you can join for free. Tea and Tech is a weekly meet-up for elderly Salford residents looking to get online. Age UK in Blackburn also runs free weekly classes. 

“Lack of affordable broadband is one of the main factors that lead to digital exclusion amongst older people,” says an Age UK Blackburn with Darwen spokesperson. “We help older people get connected free of charge. This allows them to experience the many benefits of digital technology, such as keeping in touch with friends and family, shopping online and using health services online.”

7. Start doing more stuff online

This sounds pretty obvious, but the more you do online, the better you’ll get. Drop emails to friends. Send a Facebook message instead of a text. Order a small shop online from the supermarket or treat yourself to your very first ‘deliveroo’ order. Set up a Netflix account and start streaming. Watch videos about stuff you’re interested in on Youtube. Play games. All of this stuff is super simple. You can do it!

8. Search for things online

There’s a reason why everyone searches for everything online nowadays. It’s quicker, easy, and can help you save money. Take the Broadband Market Finder tool. It brings up a list of all the best (and cheapest) broadband deals in your area in less than a few seconds. Just enter your postcode, scroll down the options, and click the one you like. Simples.

We told you this internet stuff was easy!

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