The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Student Digital Preferences in Higher Education before and during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Astrid Haugestad, NLA University College (Norway)

Charlie Keeling, Ostfold University College (HIOF) Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (Norway)


Have student preferences in terms of digital learning changed during the Covid-19 pandemic? Higher-education and teacher-training institutions in Norway (and Sweden) were already working on digitalization long-term and strategically before the pandemic. To successfully use a digital learning space requires both a technical basis and mutual acceptance from students and lecturers. These studies explore implications for student responses in terms of course design. This paper is an overview of a series of studies carried out in Norway and Sweden over a three-year period from 2019 to 2022. This conference paper introduces and compares research, results from before and during the Covid-19 pandemic and course design implications for after it. The main focus is student perceptions and experiences in blended, hybrid and online learning. Informants come from four main groups of students taking English courses: pre-service trainee teachers, science majors, in-service teachers, and foundational-year English students. Data was collected at four main institutions: University of Southeast Norway (USN), Chalmers Technical University in Sweden, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) and University College Ostfold (HIOF) in Norway. A mixed-methods approach was used across multiple case studies including Internet surveys, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The research shows how students in blended, hybrid and online courses perceive and prefer lectures, group work, assignments, oral and written feedback, and digital tools (Padlets, video lectures etc.) as methods of learning. The research is relevant in terms of mapping student perceptions and experiences in order to explore effective and responsive course design for higher education. Do teaching and lecturing practices need to change in response to student digital preferences and increased digitalization in future education? If so, what evidence-based measures and factors can be taken into consideration by educators when designing courses? These studies and this conference paper can provide a basis for further reflection and studies on digital learning in higher education.



Student perceptions, teacher training, digital learning, pre-pandemic and pandemic experiences, blended learning, hybrid learning, online learning, mixed methods



[1] Haugestad, Astrid; Keeling, Charles Paul (2020). Digital Student Preferences: a study of blended learning in Norwegian higher education. Nordic Journal of Language Teaching and Learning (NJLTL). ISSN: 2703-8629. 8 (2). s 89 - 112. doi:10.46364/njmlm.v8i2.765.

[2] Ministry of Education and Research. (n.d.). Digitalisation strategy for the higher education sector 2017-2021. Retrieved from higher-education-sector-2017-2021/id2571085/



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