Creighton Morris was looking for a new job. He doesn’t own a computer of his own, so he ventured to Chicago Public Library’s Rogers Park Branch. It was there when he met Jamie, a CyberNavigator who introduced him to the Digital Learn platform.
“When I saw the program, I thought, “This is what I needed all the time!” shared Creighton. “I’m old school, and they didn’t have all this stuff when I was young.”
Chicago Digital Learn is a video-based, online tutorial program designed to have users graduate with a foundation of basic digital literacy skills. Digital Learn is made possible through a partnership between Chicago Public Library and the Public Library Association with grant funding from ConnectChicago.
Jamie is a dedicated CyberNavigator – a tech savvy computer tutor – at the Rogers Park branch who helps patrons navigate the online software that guides patrons, step-by-step towards accomplishing goals such as applying for a job, sending an email or using the internet.
When asking Jamie more about the Digital Learn teaching process, she said, “I think the model of Digital Learn has great appeal for slower learners and beginners because it gives them the opportunity to watch and refresh the information over and over until they get it. For the most part, all the patrons that I have introduced to Digital Learn have found it useful either for reviewing rusty skills or learning something new.”
“A lot of people don’t know what a mouse is or how to send a resume,” said Creighton. “Everybody that doesn’t know the computer, should do Digital Learn.”
In Creighton’s case, Jamie helped him navigate the Digital Learn platform to fill out job applications. “Digital Learn had a program that showed me how to complete applications online, including adding attachments and using Paperclip,” Creighton explained. “At first I didn’t do it, but Jamie is very patient and she takes her time. She wanted me to learn.”
Currently, Jamie works with several patrons at the Rogers Park Library branch who use the videos and practice exercises regularly such as Creighton. However, she admits, she would like that number to increase. “I think the biggest challenge to engaging more users will be demonstrating that Digital Learn is relevant to everyone and that it is worth their time,” she said. “Especially patrons who are struggling with unemployment and feel like they don’t have the time or the reason.”
Creighton agrees. “I wish everybody could do that program; I’ve picked up skills that I’m using every day now,” he states. “I recommend that everybody should use it.” And Creighton has proof. He recently got his second job since starting as a Patient Transporter at Saint Francis Hospital.
Curious to learn more about how CyberNavigators empowers hundreds of Chicagoans to secure jobs each year? Read this recent article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune highlighting the nearly 1,000 jobs Chicagoans secured with the help of a CyberNavigator.
The 2017 CyberNavigators program is made possible by Smart Chicago, James & Madeline McMullan Family Foundation, Donnelley Family Foundation, Retirement Research Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, Microsoft, and Bears Care. Additional support is provided by donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation.