How Microsoft Office 365 Supports Digital Literacy
Anybody entering the workforce these days needs to have at least basic digital literacy skills. Even people who have worked for years may not have the required digital literacy to change careers or pursue other opportunities. It’s one of the many reasons Microsoft training courses are so popular.
Looking through most job advertisements in 2021, you’ll notice a common requirement. It might have different names, such as basic computer skills’ or ‘familiarity with Microsoft Office’, but essentially it all means the same thing. Basic digital literacy skills.
The whole world functions online now. From eCommerce to construction, all industries rely on digital technology to make life easier. That’s why as an employee, you need to understand what you’re working with. Even if none of your daily activities are specifically online, most people need to use email, custom software, and most commonly, Microsoft Office.
What is digital literacy?
Digital literacy refers to having the skills you need to function in the modern world. Not just in business, but in society as a whole we’re more dependent than ever on digital technology. We use search engines for information. We make purchases online. There are also financial matters such as online banking and digital payments. Communication occurs more frequently online, and even many Government services are accessed digitally.
So, without having a basic understanding of how the digital work operates, there are a lot of things we couldn’t do. In the workplace, the reliance on technology has also drastically increased. In years gone by, you needed computer skills to work in an office job, but if you worked in construction or retail, for example, those skills weren’t really essential. Now, they are. Most stores have electronic payment methods, computerized billing systems and even restaurants use iPads to take orders.
So, digital literacy essentially means being able to use technology for everyday life, even if you’re not super technically-minded.
Why is digital literacy important?
Digital literacy is important for so many reasons. Firstly, keeping up in a society that’s moving increasingly online requires a certain level of technological adaptability. One prime example can be found in some towns around the country where parking meters have become obsolete. There’s no more rummaging around for change in your car because payment for parking requires the use of an app.
So, in everyday life, we have an increasing reliance on technology and that of course means we need the skills to keep up with it. In the business world, it’s even more crucial to be digitally literate. There are very few jobs around today that don’t require some level of digital interaction. From communicating via email to using collaborative document tools such as those found in Office 365, almost everything in a workplace is digitised.
To highlight how important digital literacy is, a vast majority of jobs require you to apply online. You don’t drop off a resume. Sometimes you don’t even attend an interview in person. Applications are done through online systems, and interviews often occur via phone or video call. So, before worrying about whether you have the computer skills to succeed in a job, you need to understand some basics just to apply!
Microsoft Office 365, and how it helps
One of the cornerstones of the modern workplace is Microsoft Office 365. The popular suite of business tools holds a huge market share over its competitors. In fact, most people would probably even struggle to name an alternative system for word processing, spreadsheets, and slideshows. So, it goes without saying that some of the first skills you need to learn on the way to becoming digitally literate are operating the common Office 365 tools.
The most common uses for Microsoft Office are word processing with Microsoft Word, spreadsheet with Microsoft Excel, and probably email with Microsoft Outlook. PowerPoint is another common program, however, it’s not used as frequently as the others. Chances are, if you’re in the job market you’ll probably need to use Microsoft Word for a resume at the very least.
Because Office 365 is such a widely used suite of tools, developing an understanding of its uses is critical to not only your career but everyday life. Aside from being able to search for things on Google, word processing and email are the most commonly needed aspects of digital literacy.
Microsoft Office 365 skills are transferable
The skills you learn during Microsoft courses will put you in good stead to understand a range of other digital technologies. That’s because even though Office 365 is just one software program, the principles of its use are found all throughout the world of digital technology.
Take email for example. The outlook is the Office 365 tool used for managing email, but there are many others out there. However, the basic premise of sorting emails between your inbox, sent items and deleted items, adding attachments, using address books – these are all commonplace in any email client you use.
When you use Microsoft Word, you’ll learn things like how to cut and paste the text. How to save documents to different folders. How to highlight text, change the font, add hyperlinks. The list is endless, but all of these things are useful in any digital setting.
The ability to grasp new concepts in most workplaces
By using Microsoft Office 365 training as a basis for your digital literacy, you set yourself up for success in any setting. Nobody likes to walk into a new job and feel like they don’t know what they’re doing. This problem is amplified if you don’t have basic Microsoft Office skills, because there’s an expectation that everybody should have this understanding. In a new job, you’ve got so much to learn. People, processes, specific internal software. There’s a lot to take in, but it’s a lot easier if you can at least handle the basics.
It’s that transferability of skills that makes it easy for you to get the hang of other software and systems. So many of the principles are the same, so even if your workplace uses custom-designed software, chances are its basis lies in familiar Office 365 tools. When you step into a new workplace and you already understand Office 365, you’ve positioned yourself well to learn anything else they throw at you.
Getting familiar with cloud-based technology
Aside from the basic functions of Office 365, there’s another valuable learning you can gain from it. In the past, Microsoft Office was a standalone piece of software that was purchased or downloaded for a fee. Once you own it, you own it, and it stayed the same until a new version came out. The modern version, Office 365, is now cloud-based. This means businesses can simply buy licenses for the product – however many they need to accommodate their workforce. But the program itself is sitting off in cyberspace. In the cloud.
Cloud-based technology is taking over the business world, whether it’s accounting packages or customer relationship management systems. Cloud computing gives better security, better accessibility, and it can be updated regularly to suit user’s needs. It also means users can collaborate on documents at the same time, viewing them and even discussing them on the phone while working.
While having a deep knowledge of cloud-based computing may sit outside of the standard digital literacy requirements, it certainly helps to know the basics.
Are Microsoft Office 365 courses a good option?
Many people choose to improve their digital literacy by participating in an Office 365 course. These courses are easily accessible and can be done online in your own time. The courses also offer a great opportunity for individuals and businesses to access more targeted, specific courses. For example, a Microsoft Excel course or one designed specifically for becoming a master of Microsoft Word.
With the skills you learn in these courses, you’ll improve your digital literacy, your marketability on the job market and set yourself up for a successful future no matter your career.