Training in digital literacy, digital tools, and platforms should be an ongoing component of professional development for academic advisors.

Why digital literacy is critical for academic advisors in 2024


Training in digital tools and platforms should be an ongoing component of professional development for advisors

Key points:

Technology has become an essential component of academic advising, fundamentally changing how advisors interact with students and manage their responsibilities. Historically viewed as a transactional relationships, the role of academic advisors is becoming increasingly complex and intertwined with advanced digital tools and platforms.

Modern advising systems, such as DegreeWorks and various other student management platforms, are no longer optional but integral to daily operations. During a single academic advising appointment with a student, an advisor could utilize six or more digital platforms, likely moving between them throughout the session. These technologies streamline processes, enhance communication, and provide real-time data to support student success, making digital literacy an indispensable skill for academic advisors.

Students today are digital natives, accustomed to the seamless integration of technology in their daily lives. They expect their academic advisors to be equally proficient with digital tools, ensuring their interactions are efficient and effective. Advisors who embrace digital literacy can provide superior support by quickly accessing student records, monitoring academic progress, and identifying at-risk students through data analytics. This proactive approach enables timely interventions and personalized guidance, significantly improving student outcomes.

Moreover, technology fosters collaboration and innovation within advising teams and across departments. Advisors proficient in digital literacy can participate in virtual meetings, share resources through cloud-based platforms, and contribute to the development of innovative advising practices. This collaborative environment not only enhances the quality of advising but also encourages the sharing of best practices and continuous improvement.

As the demands of higher education evolve, the need for academic advisors to possess strong digital literacy skills has become more critical than ever.

Developing digital literacy

Digital literacy is not an innate skill, but a set of competencies that can be taught and developed over time. Training programs and professional development opportunities are key to enhancing these skills among current academic advisors. Institutions can implement ongoing workshops, webinars, and online courses to ensure advisors stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and best practices.

For example, advisors can be trained in:

  • Technical skills: Using advising software, managing digital records, and understanding new tools
  • Cognitive skills: Evaluating digital information critically and making informed decisions
  • Social skills: Communicating effectively in digital environments

Advisors who are skilled in using technology can better manage their workloads, automate routine tasks, and focus on more meaningful interactions with students. Training in digital tools and platforms should be an ongoing component of professional development for advisors. Institutions can support this by offering workshops, webinars, and access to online resources that enhance digital skills.

Digital literacy in the hiring process

While developing digital literacy is essential, considering it as a criterion during the hiring process may be equally important. Candidates who already possess strong digital literacy skills can adapt more quickly to technological changes and contribute effectively from the outset.

Navigating the digital landscape

As higher education institutions continue to embrace digital transformation, the ability to navigate the digital landscape becomes essential for academic advisors. Digital literacy empowers advisors to utilize various platforms effectively, troubleshoot technical issues, and stay informed about new technologies. This competence ensures that advisors remain relevant and capable in their roles, providing the best possible support to their students. Digital literacy is a vital skill for academic advisors today. It enables them to adapt to technological changes, enhance student support, improve efficiency, foster collaboration, and navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape.

By prioritizing digital literacy, institutions can ensure that their advisors are well-equipped to meet the demands of modern higher education and contribute to the success of their students.

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