Nihal YURTSEVEN, Seda SARAÇ, Ergün AKGÜN
Bahçeşehir University, TURKEY
Purpose: Distance education gained key importance in the field of education during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new era has begun for educators and students in higher education with the birth of education and training from a distance. In this study, the predictive power of academic staff’s digital competence to gauge their distance education perception was investigated. Secondly, the predictive power of students’ digital literacy to understand their online learning readiness was examined.
Method: This study was conducted with a survey design, one of the quantitative research designs. The distance teaching dimension of this study was performed with 201 (F: 119; M: 82) academicians, and the distance learning dimension was carried out with 1612 (F: 1026; M: 580; Other: 6) students. For distance teaching, the predictive power of educators’ digital competence was examined, and the predictive power of students’ digital literacy was examined for the distance learning dimension of this study. Results: For the distance teaching part of this study, results showed a positive and significant relationship between the academic staff’s digital competence and their perceptions of distance education. Furthermore, their digital competence significantly predicted their perceptions. For the distance learning part of this study, the results showed a positive, significant relationship between students’ digital literacy and their online learning readiness, and their digital literacy significantly predicted the level of their online learning readiness. The results indicated that the digital skills of both the academic staff and students were a prerequisite for the effectiveness of distance learning and teaching. Implications for Research and Practice: As the results of this research indicate, digital skills have a significant impact on academicians’ perceptions of distance education and on students’ readiness for learning. In this regard, supporting the digital skills of both parties will increase their readiness for distance education and, ultimately, students will be able to benefit more from distance education.
Keywords: Distance learning, digital literacy, digital competence, online learning readiness, distance learning perceptions.