OECD report: The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills

New OECD research, “The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think”

“Across 33 rich countries, only 5% of the population has high computer-related abilities, and only a third of people can complete medium-complexity tasks.”

Nearly a quarter just can’t use computers at all…

“Can’t Use Computers = 26% of Adult Population [ … computers being] much too complicated for many people.”

So the key questions here seems to be: i) what proportion of that 26% could actually be taught to use computers, given enough time and sympathetic teaching; and ii) would those students then see benefits commensurate with the time and frustration that would inevitably be involved in the learning? Compared to say, learning to draw or dance or act, instead, or in some other way to ‘seek out’ some innate talent and develop it. That’s an especially important question for elderly people, who may only have a finite amount of time (10-20 years) and consequently don’t want to waste it. Looking at it pessimistically, one could also ask is there a downside to trying to bring such people up to speed: how many would try to learn a computer but drop out of the course, leading to increased feelings of failure and ‘being thick’?