21 June 2019 | Report

Digital Skills – where universities matter

The digital transformation of our societies is moving ahead, changing the way that we work and interact. It is also changing learning environments and the need for digital skills.


This paper argues for a differentiated approach by universities to digital skills, identifying three groups of learners: 1) ICT specialists who need training in ethics (including privacy and bias) and where universities need to ensure diversity, 2) learners who will enter fields where the professional practice is already disrupted by digital technologies, for example medicine and law, 3) learners who face unpredictability in how digital technologies will impact their careers, but who still require knowledge about them. These groups will have different needs, as will individuals within the groups.

This paper offers suggestions on adapting learning environments to meet these needs. These include the use of problem-based learning that will enable universities to provide exposure to digital technology, as well as using interdisciplinary teams and learning analytics as a way to predict and adapt to individual learning needs.

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