CHALLENGES WHEN IDENTIFYING TEACHERS’ DIGITAL COMPETENCE
Halmstad University / Stockholm University (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The need for digital competence is reflected in national and international visions, goals, and strategies. Designing engaging learning activities is, for example, included as a standard for quality online learning. However, suppose measures are aimed at a larger group of professionals. In that case, these may be so general that they cannot inform ways forward concerning the digital skills needed for teachers to design engaging online learning activities. The rationale for this study is that municipal adult education, and particularly teaching practices, has not been well-explored. In addition, as that digital design practices may vary locally, and may have developed after the pandemic, this intervention approached digital competence as the ability to stimulate learner engagement through the design of online learning activities. Such an approach is critical, as supporting learners' engagement online differs from supporting engagement in co-located settings. However, capturing digital competence may be challenging. Research has shown that how teachers orchestrate digital technologies for learning influences how learners engage, where the social dimension of engagement (for example, collaboration and interaction) is directly affected by the teacher's ability to design. Thus, poor peer collaboration participation can be linked to poor Learning Designs (LD). Data were collected between April 2021 and January 2022. Observations (n= 33) were conducted with teachers (n=20). The data consists of observations and interviews when teacher demonstrate their LDs in asynchronous learning situations (n=24) and video recordings, observations and interviews of synchronous lessons (n=9). The data was analysed using pattern exploration and descriptive statistics. The analysis process revealed several challenges. For example, that too broad measures will not provide nuanced insights. Instead, how engagement was facilitated when exploring nuances of behavioural, cognitive, emotional and social engagement that the teacher stimulated would, when compared against an adaptation of a framework for digital competence, reveal there was a pattern between the higher levels of estimated digital competence and how LDs supported engagement in nuanced ways. In-depth analysis showed that the facilitation of specific nuances within the engagement dimension was similar to the occurrence of support for that dimension. That is, teachers who readily designed to support one dimension of engagement was observed to easily facilitate nuances of engagement within that dimension. All of the teachers who facilitated five or more nuances of engagement were also estimated to have digital competence at the level of appropriation. Conclusively, comparing asynchronous distance education (ADE) and synchronous distance education (SDE) teachers, results suggest that digital competence is related to how online lessons are designed and delivered, even though teachers who design ADE and SDE modes may face different challenges. This study suggests that there may be a need to reframe teaching practices and provide more detailed guidance to guide development of digital skills in relation to LD, the conditions of different modes and how engagement can and needs to be facilitated.
Keywords: Digital competence, Learning Design, Municipal Adult Education, Online Learning, Learner Engagement.