Digital Unite: Helping someone learn new digital skills, remotely

An illustration of the Norwich Skyline with neighbours at their windows looking out, and smiling

Digital Unite produce guides and resources for organisations to help them train people to become ‘Digital Champions’ – people who can support other people in their organisations and communities to use digital tools, and help people learn new skills.

During the pandemic, Digital Unite have produced lots of digital guides and resources for anyone to use for free. We think they’re great, and we will be sharing lots of them on the Fine City Neighbours website!

Digital Unite have also written three free guides to being a ‘remote digital champion’ – in other words, how to help people learn new digital skills, when you can’t show them how to do it face to face (which is a tricky situation!).

Click the Digital Unite logo to visit their website and find out more.

The Digital Unite guides and training to being a Digital Champion are mainly written for organisations, to help them train their employees or formal volunteers.

We are sharing them because we think they have lots of useful tips and advice that ANYONE can use to help their friend, neighbour or family member learn new digital skills- not just people who do that as a job.

But be aware that some of the language and terms in the guides might seem a bit intimidating if it’s not what you’re used to, and some of the advice might not apply to helping out a neighbour or friend who you already know and trust.

Remember- you don’t need anyone’s permission to be a good neighbour. The most important thing is to make sure that both you and your neighbour are happy with any arrangements you make with one another, everyone feels safe and secure, and no one feels pressured into anything they aren’t comfortable with.

Guide 1: Getting Started

Who can you help and how do you find them? Digital Unite have some good advice on how to get started.

We are sharing these resources in the context of neighbours supporting neighbours. If you read the guide and decide you want to volunteer in a more formal way, you can check out Voluntary Norfolk for local opportunities as a Digital Inclusion volunteer.

Click on the image for Guide 1: Getting Started

Guide 2: Top Techniques

Helping someone learn new skills is very different face-to-face to helping them remotely!

Here are some top tips from Digital Unite- like avoiding jargon and encouraging the person you’re helping to write things down.

an illustration to represent a birds eye view of a person writing at their desk. A hand holding a pen, writing in a notebook, with a mobile phone and a mug of coffee

Click on the image for Guide 2: Top Techniques

Guide 3: Staying Safe

If you decide to use this guide to help your neighbour, remember that not everything will be relevant to helping someone you already know. For example, the Digital Unite guide to keeping safe suggests that digital champions don’t make ‘friends’ on social media with the person they’re helping, or don’t share their home address.

If you are friends in real life, you might already be ‘friends’ on social media, and if you’re neighbours, they probably know where you live- so don’t worry too much about this sort of thing!

Other advice in the guide is really useful and applies to any situation- like making sure you don’t see your neighbour’s password, and leaving any situation where you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, for any reason.

Illustration of open laptop with a shield in front

Click here for Guide 3: Staying Safe

We shared another great resource from age UK on staying safe online– so it’s worth checking that one out, too.

We hope these guides are helpful! If you have any feedback or concerns about anything you’ve read here, you can get in touch with us on social media to let us know. Use the social icons at the bottom of the page to find us!