An assessment of the interplay between literacy and digital Technology in Higher Education

Shahrokh Nikou*, Milla Aavakare

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Digital technologies fundamentally transform teaching and learning in higher education environments, with the pace of technological change exacerbating the challenge. Due to the current pandemic situation, higher education environments are all now forced to move away from traditional teaching and learning structures that are simply no longer adaptable to the challenges of rapidly changing educational environments. This research develops a conceptual model and employs Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) using Partial least Squares (PLS) to examine the impact of information and digital literacy on 249 Finnish university staff and students’ intention to use digital technologies. The findings show the complex interrelationship between literacy skills and digital technologies among university staff and students. The results illustrate that information literacy has a direct and significant impact on intention to use; while, unlike our expectation, digital literacy does not have a direct impact on the intention to use. However, its effect is mediated through performance expectancy and effort expectancy. The authors suggest that to understand the changes that are taking place in higher education environment, more attention needs to be paid to redefining policies and strategies in order to enhance individuals’ willingness to use digital technologies within higher education environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3893-3915
Number of pages23
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital literacy; higher education; information literacy
  • Digital technology
  • University staff and students


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