Cultivating Digital Literacy

How can colleges and universities teach essential skills for success in the age of automation and digital transformation?

Technology is changing everything, but the rapid pace of change may be reshaping the future of work more than anything else. As technological disruptions continue to eliminate jobs across industries, the jobs that are surviving and thriving have a key characteristic in common – they can’t be easily automated.

As the World Economic Forum reports:

“Over the past 50 years, the U.S. economy…has witnessed a steady decline in jobs that involve routine manual and cognitive skills, while experiencing a corresponding increase in jobs that require non-routine analytical and interpersonal skills.”

Current research shows that, in order to get hired and succeed in jobs that are less likely to be impacted by automation, graduates need a particular set of soft skills – creativity, critical thinking, creative problem-solving and collaboration.


Ben Murden
Ben Murden

Ben has over two decades in the IT industry, delivering both online and offline campaigns across all platforms to meet business goals and objectives. Joining Phoenix in 1999 as a graphic designer, Ben has evolved over the years into a fully-rounded marketing professional, before being promoted to Phoenix Marketing Manager early in 2018, reporting directly to the MD. With his background in creative design, Ben takes projects from inception to execution and can identify the correct strategy based on the subject, audience, and goals – while increasing the brand profile and revenue. His passion for digital marketing is evident in everything he does, and both vendors and strategic partners often comment on his incredibly positive attitude to ‘make things happen’.

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The student of the future is what we call a maker, somebody who not only understands the problem, but also produces solutions to it.
Dr. Jan Holmevik, Associate Professor of EnglishCo-Director for the Center of Excellence in Next-Generation Computing and Creativity Clemson University

Four essential soft skills for students in the age of automation and digital transformation:


The ability to make new things or generate new ideas and approaches

Creative problem solving
The ability to redefine problems and opportunities, come up with
innovative responses and solutions, and then take action

Critical thinking

The ability to analyse and evaluate information in order to form a reasoned judgment


The ability to work in partnership with others to create something new or achieve a goal


Using Creative Cloud across disciplines

Here are just a few examples of how institutions are integrating Creative Cloud into assignments campus-wide to teach digital literacy and essential soft skills:

Business Classes

Create a podcast exploring a current topic in marketing or finance using Adobe Audition CC.

Psychology Classes

Create a multipanel brochure in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign.

Biology Classes

Use Adobe Illustrator CC to create an infographic explaining the impacts of a public health issue.

Chemistry Classes

Design a mobile app that teaches principles of chemistry in the form of a simple game using Adobe XD CC.

History Classes

Use Adobe InDesign CC to write, design and publish a magazine exploring events from a particular period in history.

English Classes

Use Adobe Premiere Pro CC to script and produce a video essay that offers a critical response to a work of literature.

86% of educators

 Worldwide think students who excel at creative problem solving will have opportunities for higher earning jobs

97% of educators

Believe that creative problem solving is important for students to learn in school.


91% of educators

See creativity as essential to students’ future careers.

Our high-impact practice courses promote experiential learning to actively engage students in their coursework. By embedding Adobe Creative Cloud in three of these courses - English 101, First Year Experience and Business Administration 300 - we’re increasing digital literacy and making progress toward our goals of improving retention, closing the achievement gap, enhancing learning and raising the graduation rate.
Amir Dabirian Vice president for IT and CIO California State University, Fullerton

How students can further differentiate themselves with digital skills

In addition to helping students develop essential soft skills, digital literacy education gives them powerful technical communication skills. Students in every discipline need to be effective storytellers who can communicate in modern ways using digital media. When they know how to use Creative Cloud tools to make graphics, interactive PDFs, websites, videos and more, students can build strong personal brands, create impressive ePortfolios to showcase their work and attract the attention of hiring managers. In short, they can set themselves apart from their peers in a competitive job market.

Give your students the digital skills they need to succeed

To learn more about Adobe and how Phoenix can assist, talk to the team by contacting us on 01904 562200 or email [email protected] or fill in the short form below: