Digital visitors, digital residents?

Understanding students' expectations and motivations in using online technologies can help universities to develop and deliver the right digital learning resources.

The Department's Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning (TALL) team and OCLC Research (an international library service and research organisation) are collaborating on a JISC-funded study to explore the notion that learners can be classed either as 'digital visitors' or 'digital residents'.

Digital residents tend to use the Web in many aspects of their lives. They develop an identity, participate in online culture, and view the web as a venue for conducting their social life.

In contrast, digital visitors use the Web as a tool for achieving specific goals as needs arise. They do not develop an online identity nor participate in online culture in the same way, or to the same extent, that digital residents do.

'This is timely research which will move forward our understanding of how learners engage with the web,' said David White, Co-Manager of TALL. 'It is especially exciting to be part of a trans-Atlantic partnership which allows us to compare students' digital learning strategies in different cultural contexts.'

Read more about the study at:

Published 1 June 2011