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QEP Development Research “Digital Fluency for Today’s Jobs”: Home

This guide will change frequently as resources are added by the QEP Development Committee, October 2021 - August 2022.

Annotated Bibliography: Digital Fluency

Resources below are listed in alphabetical order by author and include annotations written by members of the QEP Development Committee.

* indicates the article/resource is peer-reviewed.

* Behar, P.A.; Grande, T.P.F.; Sonego, A.H.S; Loss, S.P. (2020, April 1). M-Learning: Focus on Digital Literacy. International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning.

Focusing on smartphones, this article includes pedagogy suggestions for developing digital fluency through mobile learning. The authors explore the shift from computers to mobile devices in personal and education environments. Pedagogy specific to distance learning is included, such as autonomy, organization, communication, time management, and teamwork. Specific competencies are listed, which is useful for the development of learning objectives and coursework. This study focuses only on distance learning and on mobile devices as the technology used for learning.


Bessette, L., Burtis, M., Catlin, P., Davis, J., Fernsebner, S., Fontem, B., Griffith, A., Heitsch, E., Hydorn, D., Kayler, M., Robinson, J., & Schiffrin, H. (2018, April 12). Digital fluency at UMW - incorporating digital fluency at UMW. UMW Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from

University of Mary Washington created a digital fluency program and this is the final report including their definition of digital fluency. From the report, "The Working Group defines advanced digital fluency as: the ability to consume and produce digital knowledge critically, ethically, and responsibly, as well as creatively adapt to emerging technology.The final report contains additional works cited and resources that may be useful to our plans as well as the timeline of their project planning and implementation. The report contains a great amount of research and sources that may be useful to our planning. It was also helpful to see a three year timeline laid out in an easy to understand way. This source can lead to finding additonal sources and programs so overall not much lacking. Source might benefit from being easier to find on the website but once found, there is plenty to work with.


Bratt, S. & Hodgins, L. (2017). Towards the Design of a Digital Fluency Course-An Exploratory Study.

The researchers (Bratt & Hodgins, 2017) were tasked with assessing the efficacy of a digital fluency course for library technology students. The Results of the article include "1) recommendations to adopt a more suitable textbook, 2) use strategies recommended for cohort learning and, 3) reconceptualization of ‘digital fluency’ from a computer science principles perspective to a plurality of digital literacies as conceptualized in contemporary literature." I found very useful the discussion of the definition of digital fluency, the educator-as-research model and recommendation to move from a computer science perspective to a more sociological/contextualized/digital world perspective. The researchers utilized a National Research Council’s report to elaborate on the definition of fluency and discussed two important aspects of digital fluency namely that it is 1) ability to reformulate and generate information and express it appropriately and creatively, and 2) it is not static but evolves driven by advances in technology and is contextualized. They also utilized a action education model "...which involves first-person practitioner research aimed at improving individual teaching practice… The process follows the basic iterative, self-reflective design cycle: question → plan →act → observe →reflect/report results…” The projects for the course were all project based and the collaboration enabled by digital tools meshed well with a student constructionist approach. One of the conclusions of the authors was the need to transition from a digital fluency rooted in computer science to a more sociological/contextualized/digital world perspective: “…that emphasize one’s meaningful participation in a highly contextualized, constantly evolving personal, professional, educational and social digital ecosystem, and to thrive in those spaces.” A more detailed example of a project used in the course would have been very helpful.


Carretero, S., Vuorikari, R., Punie, Y. (2018). DigComp 2.1 : The digital competence framework for citizens with eight proficiency levels and examples of use. European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Publications Office.

This publication presents not only a framework of digital competencies but also describes proficiency levels and examples that could be used to assess those competencies. This framework (DigCom) was created to support the development of the digital competence of individuals in Europe. The framework includes 21 competencies necessary to be digitally competent and maps them across 8 proficiency levels. The proficiency levels mapping could be adapted to our project to provide proficiency level granularity, assessment metrics, and learning progression of digital fluency. This will allow more flexibility for integrating this project across the college. Useful for mapping of the level of proficiency to competency dimensions, but was lacking in assessment results data


*Fleming, E.C., Robert, J., Sparrow, J., Wee, J., Dudas, P., & Slattery, M.J. (2021). A Digital Fluency Framework to Support 21st-Century Skills. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 53:2, 41-48.

This article develops the concept of digital fluency as a guiding framework in order to prepare students with the tools needed for 21st-century work. The framework is divided into three 'subfluencies': storytelling fluency, maker fluency, and information fluency. It seems that the authors divide up these fluencies in order to develop specific outcomes related to each respective subfluency. There's also seven common practices that apply to all of these fluencies, which reinforces the idea that digital fluency is relevant and applicable to all aspects of a general college education.  I found the common practices that are relevant throughout the three subfluencies particularly helpful and, in terms of the assessment aspect of the QEP, I think the outcomes of each subfluency are extremely important.  Given how fresh this new concept is, I'm not sure there was anything lacking, per se. It would be interesting to see the data related to successful student job placement after the implementation of this digital fluency model.


Gogia, L.P. (2016, January). Documenting Student Connectivity and Use of Digital Annotation Devices in Virginia Commonwealth University Connected Courses: An Assessment Toolkit for Digital Pedagogies in Higher Education (Publication 10117006) [Doctoral dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth University]. ProQuest LLC Dissertations.

The article discusses how Virginia Commonwealth University assessed digital fluency and integrative thinking of four "connected" courses. These four connected courses were on a public course website and the students had to complete some of the assignments as blog posts on their personal website or some other blogging platform. The extent to which the students used digital annotations such as hyperlinks, embedded texts, mentions, and hashtags was evaluated and the results were used to predict students' connectivity in future "connected" courses.  The author recognized that assessment tool needed to be non-traditional (not simply measuring mastery of a subject). The tool was aimed at documenting how students constructed knowledge.  Although the aim was to measure digital fluency, I don't really see how the results can differentiate between digital literacy and digital fluency.



Institute for the Future for Dell Technologies (2019). Future of Work: Forecasting Emerging Technologies' Impact on Work in the Next Era of Human-Machine Partnerships.

The article focuses on how AI fluency can be cultivated from a platform of digital fluency and why this is important not only domestically but also globally. The article addresses ways that the worker can partner with AI technologies rather than be juxtaposed or displaced by them.  The 15 page article took the long view out to project what is needed between when the article was written and out to 2030 . This helps us imagine what we need to prepare our students for in the workplace and close the gap between what we teach and where employers are needing worker competencies to grow and excel in the future.  The focus is on many AI driven businesses and may miss the mark in some softer content where the AI skills are more incidental and other digital fluency skills are required.


Kropp, B., Smith, A., & Cain, M. (2021, November 19). How to build digital dexterity into your workforce. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved December 10, 2021, from

The need for digital dexterity has become increasingly important due to the COVID pandemic and more people working from home. Companies are spending more on digital tools to connect people together. Most companies are moving to a hybrid role emphasizing the need for digital fluency. Making sure the workforce is proficient in these tools is important and some companies are adding those competencies into job descriptions.  This ties into my belief that having these digital skills is critical to being able to communicate in this rapidly changing world.  The article mentions mid sized companies were surveyed but didn't list any specific company names.


Lalonde, C. (2019, February 22). Digital Fluency vs Digital Literacy. EdTech Factotum.

Great, abet detailed map of the digital world. To start with, the map is very comprehensive indicating a myriad of pathways to exploring the goal of coursework to include in our QEP project. It cites a 2014 report that I feel is superseded by the movement of faculty digital fluency vis a vis the COVID crisis. This article provides a good introduction, but again no solutions are provided.


* Miller, C., & Bartlett, J. (2012). 'Digital fluency': towards young people's critical use of the internet. Journal of Information Literacy, 6(2), 35-55.

Miller and Bartlett (2012) assessed young adults' perceptions of internet digital fluency in their schooling experiences. among 509 youth in the UK. Findings indicated that while 79.8% of participants felt digital fluency was essential, they also perceived that their educators had not kept up with maintaining digital fluency in their own classrooms. For example, over 50% of students reported encountering false, misleading, or biased resources in classrooms more than occasionally, and only 35.1% said they never encountered conspiracy theories in their classrooms. This resource suggests the need for promoting digital fluency not only among students, but also among educators.  This is interesting because so far, it seems like a lot of our focus has been on developing students' competencies. We'll need to focus on teachers, too, it seems. Drawback of this paper: It's in a different sample from our own.


NewsHour, P. B. S. (2016, September 16). Giving students a leg up with job skills a resume won't show. PBS. Retrieved January 17, 2022, from 

An empirical example of digital fluency at Georgetown University's "Designing the Future Initiative" uses digital badges. The digital fluency program allows students to demonstrate "soft skills" such as ethical leadership, communication, and empathy. Recruiters indicate that digital badges give more information about the student that a degree may not convey.  Provides an example of a pilot program which is an exemplar case study.


* Niessen, Shuana. (2015). What is Digital Fluency? 10.13140/RG.2.1.3412.2960. An exploration of what it means to be digitally fluent. (Paper for EC&I 830).

This paper explores the importance digital fluency and how it correlates with life-long learning. It defines digital fluency in a way that is easily understood for a concept that can be confused with digital literacy. Examines digital fluency as it pertains to both students and instructors. I found the description for the difference between digital literacy and fluency particularly helpful and easily understood. I'm unable to determine what additional content should have been included that was omitted.


Pelzel, M. (2019, April 17). Competent, Literate, Fluent: The What and Why of Digital Initiatives. Educause Review.

As digital initiatives for teaching and learning continue to gain ground within institutions of higher education, how should associated terms including literacy, competency, and fluency be distinguished? How is digital fluency different from digital literacy? In learning a foreign language, a literate person can read, speak, and listen for understanding in the new language. A fluent person can create something in the language: a story, a poem, a play, or a conversation. Similarly, digital literacy is an understanding of how to use the tools; digital fluency is the ability to create something new with those tools. This mirrors our exploration of literacy vs fluency and places the same issue in various institutes of higher education, This gives us the possibility of collaboration or gleaning from others similar explorations.


Skov, A. (2016, March). What is Digital Competence? Center for Digital Dannelse.

This is a very slick and beautiful graphic filled site originating in the EU. It has a clear definition of Digital Competency. We have not looked at literacy -> competency -> fluency. The graphics and distinctions of categories of digital users, definitions and scope of exploration are new to me. By this site, competency and fluency are similar. Can a defining of competencies help to create meaningful assessments? The website for the originator of this site is in Danish so hard to research farther.


Sparrow, J. (2018, March 12). Digital Fluency: Preparing Students to Create Big, Bold Problems. Educause Review.

How do we in higher education help students prepare for the future by becoming not only problem solvers but also problem creators? The author, Jennifer Sparrow restates our issue and adds some similar components to the mix such as curiosity fluency, communication fluency, creation fluency, and data fluency. This article discusses the importance of digital fluency now, in order to create the jobs of the future. It looks back on the jobs that were at one time non-existent and looks forward to what other careers may be created by 2030. It sheds light on the different fluencies that make up all that is digital fluency. As we work on designing assessments for this initiative, we should keep in mind that technology is ever changing. We should think of assessments that reflect the new technology and ways that may not have been thought of or used yet. This article articulates the problem, but it does not provide solutions.


* Wang, Qian (Emily); Myers, Michael D.; and Sundaram, David (2013) "Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants - Towards a Model of Digital Fluency," Business & Information Systems Engineering: Vol. 5: Iss. 6, 409-419.

Opposing the widespread practices of terming students as "digital natives," Wang, Myers, and Sundaram (2012) posed moving towards understanding students' skills as "digital fluency." Wang et al. defined digital fluency as "the ability to reformulate knowledge and produce information to express oneself creatively and appropriately in a digital environment" (p. 1). Their key findings were that so-called "digital natives" had a variety of technological experiences and proficiency, little difference between the divide of digital natives and digital immigrants (those who had adopted technology at an older age), and that literacy was dependent on social, demographic, and psychological factors. Because of these varying, diverse experiences, Wang et al. noted that promoting digital fluency, rather than focusing on digital nativity, was a more accurate and effective method of increasing technology use. This source seems useful in understanding our main research concept of promoting digital literacy, and potentially providing a model of assessment for assessing students' baseline digital fluency in context. Wang et al.'s model was conceptual--it was not supported in empirical data that they collected.






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