E-Pragamtists predominate at national WEA Conference

It was great to attend the WEA national members conference in Cambridge on 11 October.  The workshop on Digital Inclusion was packed out so we needed extra chairs. It started with the usual quips about the technology always breaking down in technology sessions. In fact it all worked and we even managed to play a fantastic MP3 file which had just arrived by email from Nana in Ghana. ‘Trees’ is an inspirational song about the value of trees sung in English and the Ashanti language.

Back to the discussions!  We looked at the recent publication from  the Oxford Internet Survey on Internet Cultures . In this study  William Dutton and Grant Blank identify five broad types of internet users. From those who are most to least at home on line (the E-mersives) to the serious doubters (A-digital) . The groups go like this: 

  • E-mersives
  • Pragmatists
  • Cyber-Savvy
  • Cyber-moderates
  • A-digital 


Not surprisingly those who had chosen the workshop turned out to be ‘more digital’ than the population as a whole and nearly half classified themselves as pragmatic enthusiasts.

 I have compared Dutton and Grant’s graph with our rapid self assessment in the Cambridge Guildhall.

Image Whilst this is not a  rigorous research response to the Oxford study – I do think there is every good reason to take account of this analysis of use when planning learning programmes for adults! 


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