OECD Skills Studies

English
ISSN: 
2307-8731 (online)
ISSN: 
2307-8723 (print)
DOI: 
10.1787/23078731
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There is a shift from formal education to a broader perspective that includes a range of hard and soft skills people need to acquire over their lifetime in order to succeed in the labour market. Workers, students, parents, employers, education providers and government agencies now need reliable information on how supply and demand for skills evolve.

The OECD Skills Studies series aims to provide a strategic approach to skills policies. It presents OECD internationally comparable indicators and policy analysis covering issues such as: quality of education and curricula; transitions from school to work; vocational education and training (VET); employment and unemployment; innovative workplace learning; entrepreneurship; brain drain and migrants; and skills matching with job requirements.

 
Adults, Computers and Problem Solving

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Adults, Computers and Problem Solving

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English
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Author(s):
OECD
23 June 2015
Pages
188
ISBN
9789264236844 (PDF) ;9789264236837(print)
DOI: 
10.1787/9789264236844-en

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The report provides an in-depth analysis of the results from the Survey of Adult Skills related to problem solving in technology-rich environments, along with measures concerning the use of ICT and problem solving. The Nordic countries and the Netherlands have the largest proportions of adults (around 40%) who score at the higher levels in problem solving, while Ireland, Poland and the Slovak Republic have the smallest proportions of adults (around 20%) who score at those levels. Variations in countries’ proficiency in problem solving using ICT are found to reflect differences in access to the Internet and in the frequency with which adults use e-mail. The report finds that problem-solving proficiency is strongly associated with both age and general cognitive proficiency, even after taking other relevant factors into account. Proficiency in problem solving using ICT is related to greater participation in the labour force, lower unemployment, and higher wages. By contrast, a lack of computer experience has a substantial negative impact on labour market outcomes, even after controlling for other factors. The discussion considers policies that promote ICT access and use, opportunities for developing problem-solving skills in formal education and through lifelong learning, and the importance of problem-solving proficiency in the context of e-government services.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements

    Information and communication technologies (ICT) permeate every aspect of our lives, from how we "talk" with friends to how we participate in the political process. The volume of information now accessible at the click of a mouse or the touch of a fingertip is overwhelming. But how skilled are we at using these technologies, and the information we can collect through them, to solve problems we encounter in daily life, such as using e-mail to communicate with a friend or knowing how to work with a spreadsheet?

  • Executive Summary

    Problem solving is an important part of work and daily life. The labour market now places a premium on higherorder cognitive skills that involve processing, analysing and communicating information. Meanwhile, citizens are daily confronted with a plethora of choices concerning such important matters as retirement planning and saving, health care, and schools for their children that require managing and evaluating multiple and competing sources of information. In addition, the widespread diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) has transformed ways of working, learning and interacting. As a result, the capacity to manage information and solve problems using digital devices, applications and networks has become essential for life in the 21st century.

  • About The Survey of Adult Skills

    The Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), assesses the proficiency of adults aged 16-65 in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. These three domains are key information-processing competencies that are relevant to adults in many social contexts and work situations. They are necessary for fully integrating and participating in the labour market, education and training, and social and civic life.

  • Reader's Guide
  • Problem solving in technology-rich environments and the Survey of Adult Skills

    The ability to manage information and solve problems using digital devices, applications and networks has become an essential 21st-century skill. This chapter provides the rationale for assessing adults’ ability to solve problems in technology-rich environments in the Survey of Adult Skills.

  • Proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments

    This chapter describes the main features of the assessment of problem solving in technology-rich environments included in the Survey of Adult Skills. It also presents the results of the adult survey and information on how frequently adults use ICT devices and applications in their daily lives. The results show a close relationship, across countries, between proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments and the degree of access to and use of ICT.

  • Differences within countries in proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments

    This chapter explores the ways in which proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments varies within countries across various socio-demographic groups. It looks at differences in proficiency related to age, education, gender, parents’ education, immigrant and language background, and participation in adult education and training. In addition, the chapter examines the association among proficiency in these skills, the use of ICT, and literacy proficiency.

  • Proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments, the use of skills and labour market outcomes

    This chapter examines the relationship among proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments, the use of ICT at work and labour market outcomes. The analysis first considers the proficiency of the labour force in using ICT to solve problems and reviews data from the Survey of Adult Skills about the frequency with which adults use ICT and solve problems at work, and whether adults believe that their ICT skills are sufficient for work. The chapter then discusses the relationship between proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments and labour force participation, unemployment, wages and labour productivity.

  • Some pointers for policy

    In all countries, there are many adults who are not proficient in solving problems using ICT; in most, some groups of adults are more likely than others to struggle with these skills. This chapter suggests how governments can help their citizens to develop these skills and what governments should consider when designing e-government services. The chapter also presents several case studies of countries in which large proportions of the population are skilled in problem solving using ICT.

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