Growing knowledge in data ethics: What are learners’ priorities? #Worknote

Mon Mar 29, 2021
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Dr Dave Tarrant, our Senior Learning Advisor, shares some results from our latest survey around data ethics skills

Dr Dave Tarrant, our Senior Learning Advisor, shares some results from our latest survey around data ethics skills

The ODI is currently exploring how our data ethics tools, courses and products can support decision makers with making the best use of data while minimising harmful impacts.

Alongside our research with Consequential, the ODI has joined forces with Sopra Steria to embed data ethics in business practices. We aim to do this by certifying digital ethics consultants to work with the ODI’s Data Ethics Canvas. This pilot programme looks to equip professionals with the knowledge, skills and tools to turn data ethics theory into action.

These activities contribute to our effort to improve data sharing by helping organisations assess, build and demonstrate both trust, in and the trustworthiness of, data and data practices.

Later in the year we will be opening up our Data Ethics Facilitators programme for others to join – initial expressions of interest in the programme received over 200 responses. Due to the popularity of the programme we decided to send out a short survey to find out why people choose to register and what is most important to them for us to provide in relation to the programme to help inform our data ethics learning products further.

We asked two main questions in this short survey:

  1. What’s the main reason why you are interested in the programme?
  2. How important is CPD accreditation, certification, badges and recognition of the programme by other trusted bodies?

These are the main takeaways from the responses we’ve received:

Great interest in expanding knowledge

The majority of people said ‘Growing their knowledge of data ethics’ was the main reason for registering interest in the programme. Interestingly, of the respondents,only 15% said they had attended our Introduction to data ethics and data ethics canvas course. As this would be a good place to start growing knowledge, we wondered how many people would register interest in a programme that takes the knowledge further and involves an individual assessment to be completed in order to become certified, much like our ODI Registered Trainers programme.

We know from the registered trainers programme, as well as from our own research (presented in this webinar), that practical and assessed elements of learning are what bring it alive for people and give people (and organisations) confidence that they can apply knowledge and skills in the real world.

33% (30% + 3% as we asked the same question twice – no one is perfect. and that’s unclean data for you) rated the certification as the most important factor showing there is demand for such programmes as a means to demonstrate some level of trust though certification of individuals who can demonstrate application of knowledge.

The relevance of a programme recognised by an expert body

Before we bring a public version of the data ethics facilitators course to market, we also wanted to find out what we might need to do or provide to learners.

The chart below shows the percentage of people who voted important (4) or very important (5) in each of the areas.

66% of people decided to save us time and investment in badging platforms with 50% saying that our own badges, designed by our incredible team of designers, would be fine. 50% want the programme to be CPD accredited. 57% would like to be listed on a page of recognised facilitators, just like our ODI Registered Trainers are, with 65% wanting to receive a certificate on successful course completion.

Overwhelmingly however, 83% would like to see the programme recognised by another expert body in the area of data ethics.

What’s next?

Over the coming months we are going to be reaching out to different bodies to investigate the best way to achieve this, both in the academic and private sectors. If you would like to get involved, or think you are a body who could help us, do get in touch via [email protected].

Alternatively if you would like to hear more about the programme and help shape its future through future surveys you can register your interest here.