Mark Surman has a few versions of this little Mozilla learning ladder:


I think that this type of breakdown might be really useful when it comes to defining web literacy skills.

Stealing from my cooking metaphor, here’s three rungs of the ladder and what I mean by each of them.

1) Understanding

  • Identify types of food (what vegetable is this?)
  • Is this going to make me fat?  Is it fresh?
  • Important: This doesn’t have to be limited to basic understanding.  Think of all the foodies of the world who visit fancy restaurants and critique the floral overpowering of truffle oil, but don’t know how to cook.
  • Examples on the web literacy side: crap detection, what is offline vs. online, etc.

2) Making

  • Cooking from a recipe book.
  • How to measure a cup of something, how to sautee without burning your arm off, how to cook chicken until it’s no longer pink but not quite leather-strap overcooked
  • Never really “finish” at this level, but…
  • Possible completion of the “everyone should know” skills would be: “When are you competent enough that we can throw you at the Joy of Cooking?”
  • From the web literacy side: put a basic webpage together, maybe some basic coding (app inventor level)

3) Innovating

  • Cook from scratch.  “I have some chicken breast and 3 vegetables in my fridge.  What can I make?”
  • From the web literacy side: This is where traditional web development courses fall.
  • Note: should also include soft skills in software building here too.

An important note is that this isn’t an attempt to create line cooks or sous chefs at fancy restaurants.  It’s an attempt to create home cooks.  In other words, this isn’t targeted at replacing culinary school, but rather your average everyperson.