Comparison of voluntary and forced digital leaps in higher education: Teachers’ experiences of the added value of using digital tools in teaching and learning

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The study examines the benefits of digital tools in teaching and learning as experienced by university teachers in two different time periods: 1) during the controlled digital leap before the Covid-19 pandemic (2017–2019) and 2) during the emergency imposition of remote teaching in response to the lockdown aimed at containing the Covid-19 pandemic (2020). Teachers in different academic fields at a large multidisciplinary Finnish university (N1 = 303 and N2 = 265) responded to two open-ended questions as part of a broader questionnaire. The research identified four kinds of benefits related to digital teaching: (1) practical and administrative and (2) independence of time and place, implying practical and technical benefits; as well as (3) enhancing learning and (4) developing teaching, which are primarily pedagogical benefits, related to teaching and learning. Voluntary and forced digital leaps provided different kinds of consequences in teaching and learning. Digital tools generally provided practical and technological benefits for teaching and learning during the controlled digital leap, but they also had positive pedagogical effects. The forced digital leap, in turn, demonstrated the value of time-and-place-independent online teaching and learning. It also exposed differences among academic fields in how teachers experienced the benefits of using digital tools. Support of and training for university teachers should take into account the different needs of faculties and disciplines, and promote dialogue between pedagogical and technological interests.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)10005-10030
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Added value
  • Digital leap
  • Digital tools in teaching and learning
  • Higher education
  • Teachers' beliefs
  • Benefits

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