“What do I need?” – evaluating learner perceptions of digital literacy skills development to inform enhancements to learning design

Nix, Ingrid; Hall, Marion and Baker, Kirsty (2012). “What do I need?” – evaluating learner perceptions of digital literacy skills development to inform enhancements to learning design. In: International Blended Learning Conference 2012, 13-14 Jun 2012, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts., UK.

URL: http://www.studynet1.herts.ac.uk/intranet/lti.nsf/...


The ability to demonstrate digital literacy skills, defined by the European Commission as the confident and critical use of ICT for work, leisure, learning and communication, is a key requirement for graduates, demanded both by the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and by employers. These skills enable learners in the current digital environment to engage effectively in study programmes, in the workplace and at home. The Open University’s Faculty of Health & Social Care (FH&SC), working closely with the OU Library, has evolved different approaches to digital literacy skills development using technology-enhanced learning and based on activities which are either ‘generic’ (usable by any FH&SC module) or are context-dependent and module-specific. The Evaluating Approaches to Developing Digital Literacy Skills (EADDLS) project explores learner perceptions of their digital literacy skills development in modules using different approaches, and considers the implications for learning design, including the pedagogical and resourcing implications of using generic versus customised activities. The project aims to identify design features which optimise learner engagement in skills activities, looking in particular at factors motivating learner engagement in skills development and at how design features (such as contextualisation of skills activities in terms of relevance to subject or working practice) influence learner perceptions and experiences of their skills development. This paper focuses on the initial analysis of qualitative data collected from interviews (n=18) across three modules. We reveal what skills learners value and why, and suggest features of learning design that may be important motivators. For example, learners with greater prior knowledge of a skill need to be able to easily identify which parts of an activity deal with skills they already have and which parts develop new skills.

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