What Is Digital Fluency? - Definition & Example

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

When it comes to the digital world, would you consider yourself literate or fluent? In this lesson, you'll learn more about digital fluency, how it builds on digital literacy and its importance both personally and professionally.

Are You Digitally Fluent?

Raul is hiring for an open position at his company, but he has some interesting challenges to overcome when interviewing the three candidates. One candidate is currently out of the country and needs to do her first interview in writing, so Raul selects a chat program. The second candidate lives a few hours away, but Raul wants to meet him ''face to face'' so he opts for a FaceTime interview. The third candidate has only submitted an application and still needs to send a resume. Raul decides that Skype will be the best fit because it will allow them to chat and also share documents.

In these scenarios, Raul is exhibiting something known as digital literacy because he thoroughly understands which digital tool to use based on the needs of each scenario.

What is Digital Fluency?

Have you ever been to a foreign country and been able to carry on a seamless conversation in its native language? If so, you are considered ''fluent'' in a second language! That means you can go beyond ordering off of a menu or asking where the bathroom is and really have a chat with a local about the culture or history of the place.

Digital fluency is knowing how to use the right tools to achieve your objective.
digital, fluency

In technology, the concept of fluency is similar. Digital fluency is the ability to select and use the appropriate digital tools and technologies to achieve a particular outcome. It goes beyond understanding what types of tools are available and moves into a zone where a person can choose the right tools based on the situation and knows how to best use them to meet the situation's requirements. For example, digital fluency allows an operations director to not only understand what project management software is but how to use it across an organization to facilitate collaboration and communication.

Digital Fluency Vs. Digital Literacy

Digital fluency differs from digital literacy. In fact, it is broader than digital literacy. Digital fluency is not just familiarity with the digital world (like digital literacy), it's about effective and proficient navigation and function in the digital world. A digitally literate individual may know how to access social media platforms, while a digitally fluent individual will understand how to create ads on those social media platforms to promote their business.

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