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A study of higher education students' self-perceived digital competences for learning and everyday life online participation.

Martzoukou, Konstantina; Fulton, Crystal; Kostagiolas, Petros; Lavranos, Charilaos


Crystal Fulton

Petros Kostagiolas

Charilaos Lavranos


Purpose: An increasing amount of research and debate has emerged over the last few years, emphasising the need for developing digitally competent, literate, able, skilled, capable people within a constantly changing technological and online environment. Existing definitions and perspectives in this area go beyond the use of technological tools or media for the creation of a digital literacy mindset, which develops throughout one's life. However, Higher Education strategies have not yet caught up with this agenda. Design/methodology/approach: A student survey with Library and Information Science students from three higher education institutions in Scotland, Ireland and Greece was conducted as a basis of empirical data to support the theoretical propositions of the study. The survey centred on the technical and higher-level digital competences of students and drawing from students' self-perceived digital competences for learning and for the everyday life digital context, addressing e-leisure, e-learning, e-democracy, e-government and e-health activities. The survey critically enabled students to assess digital competences from their perspectives as digital participants. Findings: Students' self-assessment of digital competences were lacking in a number of areas, which involved the development of information literacy, digital creation, digital research and digital identity management. In addition, students' digital competences were found to be linked to previous experiences within the everyday life digital environment. The higher the self-perceived digital competence levels of students were on the basis of dealing with everyday life digital tasks, the more likely they were to also develop high self-perceived digital competence in other digital areas related to their education. Originality/value: Higher education has not fully embraced digital competences as a core, fundamental literacy which addresses both technology mastery and a digital citizenship mindset. As emerging models begin to challenge traditional teaching and learning paradigms, with global connectivity and personalised approaches, existing digital divides may be further accelerated. This requires revisiting digital competences with emphasis on the diversity of the contexts where it develops and of the learners involved, in the overall continuum of learning for life.


MARTZOUKOU, K., FULTON, C., KOSTAGIOLAS, P. and LAVRANOS, C. 2020. A study of higher education students' self-perceived digital competences for learning and everyday life online participation. Journal of documentation [online], 76(6), pages 1413-1458. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 31, 2020
Online Publication Date Jun 29, 2020
Publication Date Dec 31, 2020
Deposit Date Jun 4, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jun 29, 2020
Journal Journal of documentation
Print ISSN 0022-0418
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 76
Issue 6
Pages 1413-1458
Keywords Digital competences; Digital literacy; Information literacy; Everyday life; Higher education; Life-long-learning; Student transitions; Empirical research
Public URL


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