Tapping into students' digital literacy and designing negotiated learning to promote learner autonomy

Yu Liang Ting*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Students of today are digital natives. They acquire their digital literacy autonomously and are adept at using various Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools to enrich their daily leisure life. Although prior research has addressed such phenomenon and its relation to school learning, the focus was mostly on students' adoption of ICT tools to facilitate their learning. This study takes a further step by relating students' digital literacy to their school curriculum and using the pedagogy of negotiated learning to improve their learning autonomy. The proposed negotiated learning design is to scaffold students along the authenticity-generalizability continuum; from operation-oriented knowledge and experience of ICT tools to the theory and technique of tools development and operation. It is expected that, by relating the school learning to students' digital literacy, the way of students' autonomously acquiring their digital literacy outside school may help them develop autonomy in school learning. For validating the proposal, an experiment with 36 university students studying the engineering course of multimedia technology has been implemented and evaluated. The qualitative results showed that participants developed their autonomy to exercise their digital literacy to resolve the difficulties they faced during Web exploration and data collection for their school learning. The quantitative data also evidenced their improvement of learning autonomy. The findings and the way how the learning practice is designed and implemented should offer teachers a different perspective of connecting school learning with students' digital literacy acquired outside schools. Moreover, under the trend of youngsters' digital literacy development, the findings provide a positive perspective on students' digital literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalInternet and Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 1


  • Digital literacy
  • Learner autonomy
  • Negotiated learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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