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The DigComp Deficit: A Qualitative Exploration into the Experiences and Perceptions around Digital Competence in Ireland’s ‘second-chance’ Adult & Community Education Sector

Kelly, Mark B. (2019) The DigComp Deficit: A Qualitative Exploration into the Experiences and Perceptions around Digital Competence in Ireland’s ‘second-chance’ Adult & Community Education Sector. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

Today digital competence is recognised as a crucial twenty-first-century skill. The European Framework for Digital Competence (called DigComp) provides a frame of reference to support the development of European citizens’ digital competences. It can also support the development of learning and training materials related to digital competency.

Only 48% of Irish people possess basic digital skills, meaning there is an urgent need to address the digital skills divide across Irish society.

The overall aim of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of digital competence in Ireland’s “second-chance” adult and community education sector.

This research draws from literature to define the term ‘digital competence’, discusses how DigComp, the European Digital Competence Framework has been developed and ratified as a tool to improve digital competence, explores the impacts of a lack of digital competence on a person’s employability and life-chances in the twenty-first-century, and discusses digital competency vs digital literacy and media skills. It also situates the need for empirical data to better understand Irish community educators’ current experiences and perceptions around digital competency.

A qualitative study within the interpretive paradigm, this research used semi-structured interviews, conducted one-to-one with six highly experienced community education practitioners from around Ireland. Convenience sampling was used to identify the community educators. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded by iteratively-reducing the data into coded themes against the research objectives.

The study finds there is a lack of awareness about DigComp across the participants and there are also wide variances regarding what it means to be digitally competent. The study also reveals many of the educators are not confident in their own digital competence and that the majority of the learners they work with are lacking digital competence.

The consequences of not tackling this digital deficit is a deepening of the Digital Divide in Ireland, increasing social exclusion over the medium and long term. We are missing an opportunity to tackle social ills such as isolation & loneliness and we are currently looking at a situation in which digital illiteracy will rise as a new super-literacy challenge.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > E-Learning
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > Literacy
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Learning and Teaching
Depositing User: CAOIMHE NI MHAICIN
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2019 09:27
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 09:27
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/3836

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