Strong demand for Stepping UP

Comment from Sue Kini, Product Manager, Stepping UP, 2015-16 Annual Report

Modules completed have grown from 950 in 2013 to 2,197 in 2015 and over 2,300 in 7 months of 2016.Stepping UP provides free, community-based computer and internet training for adults. The programme modules (called digital steps) focus on practical ways in which digital tools can be used by people to enhance their lives.

Our focus in 2015–16 has been to expand our network of delivery partners, mainly with public libraries but also with a number of community technology centres.

Strong growth in demand

Demand for the Stepping UP programme continues to grow; in the first 6 months of 2016 we have already exceeded the total number of digital steps completed in 2015 (2382 in just seven months compared to 2197 for 2015).

All Computers in Homes families are encouraged to continue their digital learning journeys by participating in Stepping UP modules and nearly 25% do.

However our strategy is to collaborate with public libraries and other local providers to ensure that there are ongoing digital training opportunities available to the whole community, as and when required.

Delighted to work with NZ Public Libraries

During the year the 2020 Trust signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Public Libraries of New Zealand (PLNZ). We agreed to collaborate in supporting public libraries develop and deliver digital literacy initiatives. We have been delighted with the positive response from libraries throughout New Zealand.

A total of 33 public libraries and 12 community organisations offered Stepping UP modules during 2015-16. A further eight are expected to offer Stepping UP by the end of 2016.

Computer Basics and basic Word are most popular digital steps
Computer Basics and basic Word are most popular

Short introductory modules are most popular

It is interesting that Computer Basics remains the most popular digital step; despite living in an increasingly digital world, there are still many people who haven’t taken the first step in using digital technologies. 67% of all participants were aged over 50.

The 2-hour “just in time” Stepping UP courses appear to suit people who do not want to commit to a full-time course or programme such as those offered through adult education night classes or by SeniorNet. Yet they realise they need some basic digital skills just to exist.

Helps jobseekers too; high satisfaction

Libraries have also found that the Stepping UP classes provide an excellent mechanism for responding to people who just turn up or have been referred by Work & Income; these people often expect immediate support from librarians and it is really helpful to be able to say “how about signing up for this class next week”.

Stepping UP classes have a high level of ‘repeat customers’; 61% of all participants indicated that this was not their first class. This in itself is a strong endorsement of the quality of the programme. Overall, 94% of participants find the classes Useful, with 75% saying Very or Extremely Useful.  Thank you to all the tutors and librarians who make this such a positive experience for everyone.

New Digital Step modules developed

The range of digital steps being offered also expanded during the year. Some libraries have developed their own modules; we have encouraged them to use the Stepping UP programme to share these with other libraries. New digital steps added during the year were:

  • Sue Kini, Stepping UP Product ManagerGo On – Give it a Click (using Work & Income’s My Account)
  • Google Drive (using online ‘cloud’ storage)
  • Pinterest (a visual bookmarking tool), developed by Picton Library & Service Centre
  • Photo Editing Basics (using the PIXLR Editor), developed by Tasman District Library
  • Ancestry – Library Edition (searching on Ancestry.com), developed by Tasman District Library

We always welcome suggestions for new digital steps; our thanks to Patrick Harlow (Wellington) and Rebecca South (Dunedin), two of our most experienced Stepping UP tutors, for their support in reviewing new modules.