Digitization bolstering self-directed learning for information literate adults – a systematic review

Morris, T.H ORCID: 0000-0002-0100-6434 and Rohs, M (2021) 'Digitization bolstering self-directed learning for information literate adults – a systematic review.' Computers and Education Open, 2. e100048. ISSN 2666-5573

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.caeo.2021.100048


Learning skills are fundamental 21st century skills that enable people to thrive in an increasingly uncertain future. Digitization and the current COVID-19 pandemic have been key drivers of uncertainty and changing conditions. In the face of change and uncertainty, self-directed learning is a fundamental competence. However, to date there is a dearth of understanding regarding how digital technologies are supporting or affecting self-directed learning in adulthood. In order to address this, the objective of the present study was to examine through a systematic literature review what is known to date regarding – how can digital technologies support self-directed learning in adult learning and education? The novel findings of the present study suggest digitization has transformed opportunities for self-directed learning in informal, non-formal, and in formal educational settings. However, a key finding of this present study was that the affordances of digital technologies might be described as a double edged sword: (1) digital technologies provide convenient accessibility to information, which acts as an enabler of self-directed learning; but (2) the increasing volume of available information demands additional learner skill in information literacy – part of being a competent self-directed learner – in order to navigate information in a meaningful way. These two concomitant phenomena might in part explain the widening digital divide that has been recorded in recent years.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: adult learning, distance education and online learning, improving classroom teaching, informal learning, lifelong learning, 21st century abilities
Divisions: School of Education
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.caeo.2021.100048
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2021 17:10
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2022 05:30
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/14323
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