Aboriginal Students and the Digital Divide: Non-formal Learning in the Inner-City

Manitoba Research Alliance on CED in the New Economy,

Author +
Lawrie Deane and Sherry Sullivan

Year: 2005

There has been much discussion recently of a so-called digital divide. This term refers to a new form of social inequality based on differential access to information technology (IT). This problem is potentially quite serious for future employment seekers because opportunity is increasingly expected to depend on IT knowledge and skills. In places like Manitoba, where much of the growth in the labour force will consist of Aboriginal participants, this digital inequality also has a demographic dimension. Not only will individuals be affected by unequal access to computer knowledge but differential opportunities may have implications for the whole economy. This study therefore sought to test levels of informal learning on the part of inner city Aboriginal young people and to compare these to the students’ own perceptions of their learning. It was hoped that this formal demonstration of the value of non-formal learning would result in improved self-perceptions among students and create motivation for learning and job seeking in the future.

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