Module 1.3: Preparing students to successfully engage in digital learning experiences

Landing the Concept
Take Action
Test Yourself

Landing the Concept

Fostering inclusivity and widening participation should be a core component to the Digital Education Strategy of any HE institution. It is therefore essential not to assume that students will be uniformly and by default ready to fully participate and make the most of the technology-mediated learning experiences they might find throughout their studies.

Indeed, the ability of learners to effectively engage in digital education is heavily influenced by their pre-existing academic competences, skills and capacity to self-regulate learning or their access to social and material environments conducive to learning (i.e., a suitable study space). Some key factors identified in recent research include:

  • Learners’ motivational profiles (see Maya-Jariego et al., 2020).
  • Vital, resources and existential inequalities (Czerniewicz 2018).
  • Self-efficacy (see Pumptow & Brahm, 2021).

These factors influence the attainment and the opportunities to benefit from education at large, but they seem to be even more important in the case of online, blended or hybrid learning. In this regard, organisational factors – including the design of courses and learning experience or the configuration and effective use of online learning platforms – are even more influential to digital exclusion than intrinsic factors such as students’ technical skills (Clarida et al 2016, Van der Aa 2020).

In order to ensure equal learning opportunities for all, it is crucial to provide students, as soon as possible in their studies, with straightforward ways of getting familiar with the elements that make up the digital ecosystem of their chosen HE institution and developing key digital learning skills.

We invite you now to explore two of the resources created by Coventry University with the aim of improving students’ digital skills and readiness to participate effectively and appropriately in technology-mediated interactions and learning experiences:

Take Action!

Now that you have explored some ideas on how preparing students to participate in digital learning experiences can ground your digital education strategy, try and start from the beginning of their journey: outlining a digital induction toolkit for them, a package that will get them acquainted with the digital ecosystem of your institution.

The resources you have seen from Coventry University can give you some ideas, but every institution will have its very specific needs, population and infrastructure. Aside from the toolkit itself, also consider what basic skills and infrastructure might be needed for your students to engage with your digital ecosystem, and ensure that your plan is as inclusive as possible.

Share the sketch with your institution’s Student Representatives to get their feedback and incorporate a strategy to evaluate engagement.

Finally, share your findings, reflections and difficulties with fellow course participants.

Test Yourself


  • Clarida, B. H., Bobeva, M., Hutchings, M., & Taylor, J. (2016). Strategies for digital inclusion: Towards a pedagogy for embracing and sustaining student diversity and engagement with online learning. IAFOR Journal of Education.

  • Czerniewicz, L. (2018). Inequality as Higher Education Goes Online. In N. Bonderup Dohn, S. Cranmer, J.-A. Sime, M. de Laat, & T. Ryberg (Eds.), Networked Learning: Reflections and Challenges (pp. 95–106). Springer International Publishing.

  • Maya-Jariego, I., Holgado, D., González-Tinoco, E., Castaño-Muñoz, J., & Punie, Y. (2020). Typology of motivation and learning intentions of users in MOOCs: the MOOCKNOWLEDGE study. Educational technology research and development, 68(1), 203-224.

  • Pumptow, M., & Brahm, T. (2021). Students’ digital media self-efficacy and its importance for higher education institutions: development and validation of a survey instrument. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 26(3), 555-575.

  • Van Der Aa, J. E., Aabakke, A. J., Andersen, B. R., Settnes, A., Hornnes, P., Teunissen, P. W., ... & Scheele, F. (2020). From prescription to guidance: a European framework for generic competencies. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 25(1), 173-187.