Purpose: Due to the distinctive characteristics of developed countries differentiating them from the developing countries, it is expected that there may be differences between developed and developing countries’ levels of digital literacies. Considering the cultural differences and approach to the gender problem, it is important to see how these differences manifest themselves when genders are considered. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate comparatively the level of digital literacy of university students in three culturally different countries.
Method: The study was based on descriptive survey research and consisted of 430 university students, studying on technological programs in three different countries: the first one was the United Kingdom (UK), a well-developed member of the European Union (EU), the second one was Malta, a less developed EU member, and the third one was the Republic of Turkey, a developing country and a candidate for EU membership. The data were collected through the Digital Literacy Scale. In the analysis of data, descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) test were used.
Findings: The only difference in the findings is in the technical sub-dimension of digital literacy; male students’ average scores for this sub-dimension are higher than that of female students across three countries. The findings also indicated significant differences in terms of cognitive and social-emotional sub-dimensions of digital literacy between countries. Accordingly, participants studying in Turkey had a lower score than participants studying in Malta in terms of cognitive sub-dimension and had a higher score than the UK participants in the social-emotional sub-dimension. Moreover, it was found that neither gender nor country had any significant effect on the sub-dimensions of digital literacy.
Implications for Research and Practice: The findings of the study reveals that the participants from Turkey scored lower than other countries in the cognitive skills needed for digital literacy. This may well lead to a recommendation for improving digital literacy in different countries.
Comparison, developed and developing countries, digital literacy, gender, information and communication technology (ICT)