Digital Readiness from an Online Learners’ Perspective

The NIDL team is pleased to be leading the Learner Readiness work package as part of the new DigiTeL Pro Strategic Partnership initiative. This project, led by EADTU, is supported through the Extraordinary Erasmus+ Coronavirus Response Fund and involves seven European university partners.

The project team brings together a group of experienced online educators well-known for their research and innovation in digital education.

Project outputs include an analysis of major lessons from the COVID-19 crisis, support for maturing institutional policy and strategy for the post-pandemic environment, the design, development and implementation of continuous professional development for a range of delivery modes, and several initiatives to enhance students’ readiness for digital learning.

The specific objectives, depicted below, focus on how different configurations of hybrid, blended and online education can offer design solutions for more active and engaging teaching, learning and assessment, both synchronously and asynchronously.

As part of the DigiTel project, the NIDL team is refreshing the course it designed and co-facilitated with students in September 2020 and again during March 2021 to support digital readiness.

We are pleased to report that an updated version of A Digital Edge: Essentials for the Online Learner will be available this coming September for students starting the new academic year.

While many European students may be returning later in the year to more traditional campus-based instruction, the importance of learning how to be an effective online learner remains highly relevant as we look to the digital future. Feedback from students reinforces this point and we hope the next course offering will continue to provide valuable support for those seeking to gain a digital edge for their studies and beyond.

A recent NIDL webinar focusing on the Online Learner gave us plenty of food for thought as we turn our attention to revising this course. We asked our invited panel what valuable lessons have students taught us as a result of their pandemic experience? The panel included Professor George Veletsianos, D’Arcy Beacon Fellow, Dr. Sharon Flynn from Irish Universities Association, Dr. Ciarán Dunne, DCU’s new Director of Transversal Skills, Dr. Elaine Beirne from the NIDL Ideas Lab, and Terence Rooney, incoming President of the DCU Students’ Union, A recording of this webinar, which includes a brief overview of the DCU Futures initiative, appears below.

A further deliverable of the Learner Readiness work package as part of the DigiTEL project is a synthesis of the COVID research literature reporting the student experience. Our NIDL team has already identified over 30 studies from around the world offering insights on the student experience, although notably very few report what students have to say in their own words.

This is where you may be able to help us!

Understandably, there is likely to be a time-lag between collecting and analysing such student-focused research on the pandemic experience, and the time when this work and key findings appear in relevant publications. So we want to discover this research before it hits the journals!

If you know of a study or publication that focuses on student readiness for digital learning with a strong learner’s perspective that was published after 2015 or ideally more recently arising from the COVID-19 crisis, then we would be delighted to hear from you. We invite you to share more information about this research by completing our short online form. In return, we will acknowledge everyone who contributes submissions when we report the results of our synthesis of the literature and send you a copy of the final report.