College students in the traditional age cohort (late teens to early 20s) have spent their entire lives using computerized devices and accessing the Internet. As digital natives, they should be the most tech-savvy group on the planet—but they’re not.
In fact, their digital skills are dismal when it comes to the kind of capabilities they need for effective study and later on for work performance. According to THE Journal, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) analyzed data for 5,000 people aged 16-64 on their ability to carry out “practical tasks” using software and digital media.
The millennials in the group (age 16-34) fared poorly. Some 58% “couldn’t solve a multistep problem that required more than one computer application,” THE Journal said. A sample task was to sort, search for, and email data from a spreadsheet.
Even worse, 91% of this age group didn’t think possessing low technology skills would be a deterrent to getting a job after graduation. Of the 19 countries participating in the survey, the U.S. ranked 19th in technology skills for the millennial cohort, even though this group spends an average of 35 hours per week engaging in digital media.
A four-page report released in June 2015 summarizes AIR’s analysis.