Digital Navigators are crucial players in the field of digital equity. Navigators work within their own communities as trusted resources who can help people get online, obtain home internet, and use their devices. Navigators are best equipped to understand local needs, as well as the cultural and linguistic contexts.
Would you like to become a Digital Navigator or train members of your organization to do so? Community Tech Network offers two Digital Navigator training packages.
First, we offer a FREE self-paced online course that teaches all the basics about becoming a Navigator.
Alexey Morov, CTN’s Digital Equity Learning and Development Manager, who helped create the course, says: “A great thing about this training is that it wasn’t born in a lab. Instead, it grew from real digital navigation initiatives and hands-on volunteer training. Prior to putting together our online course, we trained CTN digital skills instructors and volunteers of our partner organizations, for example, the San Francisco Public Library. That is why there is so much useful and practical information in the program.”
Additionally, as part of our digitalLIFT capacity-building program, CTN offers a LIFT Navigators package, which is perfect for organizations hoping to train their staff or volunteers to become Digital Navigators. As part of this package, enrollees receive access to five of our online courses, as well as wraparound support, including a 90-minute debrief workshop to discuss any questions they have about the material, personalized advice and support from our team, access to useful resources specific to the area and population that they serve, and membership to our Navigators Community Forum, which will connect them with like-minded organizations and Digital Navigators across the nation for ongoing learning and collaboration. We even throw in a complementary curriculum (available in eight languages and for many devices and skill levels) from our CTN library, which includes both a Learner Booklet and a Trainer Guide that can help you offer your own technology classes, should you desire.
Says Morov: “Our organization has more than 15 years of experience in delivering direct services: digital skills training, tech support, connectivity assistance — everything that Digital Navigators need to know and do. Through our training, they can tap into our wealth of knowledge and make the transition to the Navigator role quicker and smoother. Also, through digitalLIFT online learning platform you can receive this training at any time, at your own pace, and you can select the format that suits you best: a brief overview of the concept, an advanced training with deeper dive into digital inclusion concepts, or a full digitalLIFT experience with support and live workshops where you can communicate directly with CTN educators. And don’t forget the access to the growing LIFT Navigators community forum, a meeting hub for all present and future Digital Navigators.”
With today’s rapidly emerging technology, there is a growing need for more Navigators across the U.S. As Morov explains: “Now is the time when Digital Navigators are in very high demand. The U.S. government and other entities invest a lot of time and resources in helping previously disconnected groups of people get online and gain access to the internet. There are multiple programs distributing internet-ready devices to underserved communities and providing digital skills training and basic tech support. It means that many new people come online, and most of them are very new to technology and may be unable to use it safely and responsibly. That’s where Digital Navigators come in to be their trusted guides in the digital world. Of course, proper training of these individuals is extremely important, because its quality will have a multiplicative impact on hundreds of lives.”
Wondering if you need to be a technology expert yourself to become a Navigator? Not to worry. As Morov explains: “Digital Navigators are trusted individuals who assist people with limited technology skills in navigating the digital world. As their very name suggests, Digital Navigators are guides rather than experts. Instead of answering every question, they must be able to help their clients use the available tools to get the necessary information or services. Teaching and empowering others — that’s the path of Digital Navigators.”
If you would like to learn more about CTN’s Digital Navigator training, contact us at LIFT@communitytechnetwork.org.