Digital preferences and perceptions of students in health professional courses at a leading Australian university: A baseline for improving digital skills and competencies in health graduates
This study aimed to improve understanding of graduate students’ digital preferences and perceptions to prepare them for work in the digitally enabled health sector. We surveyed 361 students from five disciplines to create a baseline of their digital capabilities. Results show that students were confident in engaging with day-to-day technologies required for discipline-specific learnings and most were reasonably aware of digital privacy and security. However, only 11% of the students reported having sufficient university support and services to develop their digital skills and competencies, and only 39% of the students believed they have the relevant skills for entering the workforce. To improve their understanding in this area, students attended a digital skills and employability workshop that was developed in partnership with teaching specialists, learning and teaching librarians and career services coordinators. Post-workshop findings show that this learning intervention positively impacted students’ understanding of their own digital capabilities and increased their awareness of the importance of this core skill for both the university and the workforce. Teaching staff can use these findings to improve student digital learning in health professional curricula, which will contribute to knowledge transfer and communication with digital health employers.
Implications for practice or policy:
- Heath professional educators can bridge the gap in digital practices between graduates and the workplace by understanding students’ baseline digital skills and competencies and developing targeted learning opportunities within the curriculum to support students’ digital confidence, experience, attitudes and understandings of digital practices and digital skills and competencies.
- Students’ digital skills and competencies can be enhanced by facilitating dialogue between universities, employers and accrediting bodies in the health sector to set consistent and realistic expectations.
Copyright (c) 2021 Kwang Cham, Mary-Louise Edwards, Lisa Kruesi, Tania Celeste, Trent Hennessey
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