Are learner perceptions of digital literacy skills teaching affected by demographic factors?

Hall, Marion; Nix, Ingrid and Baker, Kirsty (2012). Are learner perceptions of digital literacy skills teaching affected by demographic factors? In: The Seventh International Blended Learning Conference: “Reflecting on Our Achievements - What's Next for Technology-Enhanced Learning and Teaching?”, 13-14 Jun 2012, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK.


It is becoming increasingly important for learners to develop digital literacy skills (defined by the European Commission as the confident and critical use of ICT for work, leisure, learning and communication). The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education requires graduates to demonstrate digital literacy and employers demand these vital employability skills. And, with the rising cost of university education, learners themselves increasingly expect courses to demonstrate relevance to the workplace. Despite this, learners may not fully engage in skills development, giving priority instead to subject-specific learning. We therefore explore learner experiences of digital literacy skills development in an attempt to understand why learners fail to perceive the relevance of the skills content of their module, or at least give it low priority. The Open University’s Faculty of Health & Social Care (FH&SC) has evolved different approaches to digital skills development using technology-enhanced learning, based on skills resources that are either ‘generic’ (usable within any FH&SC module) or context-dependent and module-specific. Our Evaluating Approaches to Developing Digital Literacy Skills (EADDLS) project is exploring learner perceptions of skills activities and our overall skills development strategy, with data collected from online questionnaires and interviews involving learners from three modules. We present findings from analysis of some of the quantitative questionnaire data in relation to three demographic factors: age, gender and previous educational level. We consider to what extent learners’ engagement in and/or perceptions of skills development correlate with demographic factors. We also explore whether demographic factors are related to learner preferences for the type of learning design, for example, use of generic resources versus contextualisation of skills activities that emphasises relevance to the subject and/or the workplace. Our aim is to identify what demographic factors, if any, need to be considered in learning design to support individual learners appropriately, and thereby optimise engagement.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions