Becoming a member of the Network
What kind of organisations join?
Any organisation that wants to improve the basic digital skills and confidence of its staff, community, residents, citizens, beneficiaries or clients. Typically clients are housing providers, local authorities, charities and healthcare organisations. We also work with corporate clients who want to upskill colleagues, friends and family, or work in their community.
How much does it cost?
Our prices depend on the size and complexity of your project; how much customisation you'd like; and the kind of organisation you are. Prices start from £1,200 a year for straightforward project with 10 Champions. You can buy extra licenses if you need them and review them when you come to renew at the end of each year. Here are our full range of costs.
Can we customise it?
Your Champions' dashboard will have your logo and contact details. For most clients, the Network is then ready-to-go. But we can also create:
Tiering project management tools: with up to 10 sub-projects beneath an umbrella project
Tailored Learning Pathways: bespoke inductions making specific learning mandatory or initial selections of content that vary from our standard pathways.
Customised document areas, with specific resources (like a volunteer handbook); tailored Champion Records, with extra questions.
Here are more details about options and costs.
How can I find out if it is what we need?
This free planning tool is really helpful in working out whether you're ready and in the right place to join up. It takes about 10 minutes and gives you a tailored report, specific to your organisation, about how a Champion's programme could work for you.
This short film gives you a sense of what the Network is like - but the best thing to do is to book a toor and come and look around. Then you can see how the platform supports Champions and Project Managers and ask any questions. We're really happy to talk to you about what you need and if the DCN isn't right for you, we will say. We want it to work for you.
How do we get set up on the Network?
Talk to us! We'll discuss exactly what you need from the platform and programme, talk you through your options and set you up with the right kind of membership.
It then takes about 2 weeks from when we receive the signed order form and all the relevant information to get you ready to go. Set up includes a dedicated area for your champions on the Network, Project Manager access and Digital Champion licences and an onboarding session for your Project Managers to support them using the Network. If you want to delay this set up, we can do that too (some organisations join in one financial year, but need planning time and don't get their activity going until the next).
What if we're interested in Digital Inclusion but don't want to join the Network?
We know the world of digital inclusion, and if we can't help you, we probably know someone who can. We work on a consultancy basis with large organisations, helping them get to grips with digital inclusion. We also run Inspire, a training course used mostly by corporate clients to raise awareness of digital inclusion and encourage employee volunteering. We have a huge range of free technology guides, which you can use on our website or sign-up to have for free on yours. These include a range of easy-read guides.
The Network’s training and resources
How does the training work?
Our courses are based on the train-the-trainer model of learning. They give your staff or volunteers the digital skills and confidence they need to help others. The Network focuses on improving their knowledge and capability within this framework. Then they can use their skills to upskill other people, whether that's clients, customers or colleagues.
Some courses are in collections (like the Digital Champion Essentials or Managing Health Online). Others are stand alone (like Helping Others Remotely). All are backed up by a wealth of resources, pulling together content created by us combined with the best resources from around the web. These resources are carefully curated and regularly refreshed.
The learning on the Network is aimed at Champions, not end learners. We have a huge range of free guides on our website which can be used as extra support for end learners, and our training and resources highlight other resources to which Champions can signpost.
How long are the courses and what do they cover?
You can browse our full course list. We offer a standard set of courses but our platform is very flexible and can be tailored to your organisation and specific learning pathways. With some membership packages, you can choose which courses are offered to your Digital Champions at the outset and decide which courses they are offered after that. You can also make some courses obligatory - and Champions must complete these courses before they move on to others.
We recommend most people start with a foundation of essential courses for their role, for example this might be the Digital Champion Essentials or the Managing Health Online collections. Once they've mastered these, they can move onto other courses, chosen by them or you. Some courses are for people in specific roles, like Using your role to help customers online, which shows how to include digital skills support in everyday customer interactions; others might help learners with a specific task, like managing their health online, or be targeted at helping users with specific barriers, like poor English or dexterity issues.
You can try out the Helping Others Stay Safe Online course for free to see what it's like.
Are the Network's courses certified?
We know the value of professional verification for staff and volunteers which is why all of our courses are linked to a certificate and an Open Badge, the new national approach to evidencing training and development. All of our courses are also formally CPD certified. This means they have been accredited by The CPD Certification Service following independent evaluation and they comply with universally accepted principles of Continual Professional Development (CPD).
Are the resources downloadable?
The courses themselves are interactive and have to be completed on the Network (which can be viewed on any kind of device). All our other resources and guides can be downloaded. At the end of each course a Digital Champion will receive a list of all of the links and resources included in that course.
How long will it take for someone to be 'trained' as a Digital Champion?
We recommend the Digital Champion Essentials as the first courses to be completed for the minimum foundation training. They take slightly longer than an hour and cover all of the essentials for helping others, including how to create the right learning environment for beginners, what hardware, software and websites to use, how to create and maintain learner interest and how to keep themselves and their learners safe.
Other courses take from 5 to 40 minutes depending on the course and the Champion. The platform’s flexibility means that a Digital Champion can learn at their own pace, can start and stop a course at any time and revisit it as many times as they like.
What other support is available for my Champions whilst they are training?
There is a wide range of support available for your Digital Champions. This includes an active online forum with peer-to-peer support and a comprehensive range of resources and guides. We have a monthly newsletter just for Champions, with resources, tips and training ideas. And they can can join us on one of our monthly Digital Champion online meet-ups. These cover a wide range of topics - from using the cloud to learning to help people manage their finances online. We often have guest experts running these drop-ins - for example AbilityNet ran a very popular recent session about accessibility. We also run monthly drop-ins that Champions can come to, to trouble-shoot any problems and help them get the most from the Network.
Project management support
What kind of project support is offered to members?
From the outset, you will have access to our comprehensive and practical toolkit and course for Project Managers. This gives ideas for planning your project, building an engagement strategy, where to start with recruiting Digital Champions and top tips from other members. Here are some sample project planning resources. We'll have an onboarding session around the dashboard, and there are regular online drop-in sessions for Project Managers, and webinars for sharing expertise and a monthly newsletter.
It can be an isolating role as the Project Manager may be the only person in the organisation working on digital inclusion and in our experience, they really value coming together to share ideas, problems and best practice.
We want your project to fly, so if your Project Managers are struggling with any aspect of the Network, we're here to help. You'll have a dedicated membership manager who will arrange regular catch-ups with project managers. Some people want lots of support, especially at the start of the programme, some want to be left to get on with it! We'll work in the way that's best for you.
How do we manage and evaluate the project?
Every project has a tailored project management dashboard. We'll help you get to grips with it but it's very straightforward to use. From the dashboard, Project Managers can see who has registered to be a Digital Champion and what courses they have completed or started. They can also see information about how the Champions are helping learners: how many sessions they've done and how many unique learners they've helped. This can be viewed at any time and it's a useful working tool for Managers to see how the programme's going and which areas or Champions might need encouragement or extra attention.
All this information can be easily downloaded into Excel at any time for analysis and information. This is a simple effective way to measure how the programme is doing overall and the impact it is having.