Teacher digital competence development in higher education: Overview of systematic reviews





teacher digital competence, higher education research, systematic review, methodological guidelines, teacher training


The scope of digital technology integration in university teaching has changed our understanding of teacher readiness and teacher competence. Recently, faced with the digitalisation of higher education (HE), the construct of teacher digital competence (TDC) has emerged. Although there are many recent systematic reviews on digital competence from a range of perspectives and geographic settings, such reviews often show a limited view of a larger digital competence landscape in HE. The current study on TDC development in HE aims to synthesise knowledge to provide an integrated and global assessment of existing evidence. We carried out a systematic overview, especially suited for identifying, synthesising and critically appraising published reviews on a given topic amidst an abundance of research. We identified three clear settings by synthesising 740 studies across 13 systematic reviews. Results reveal a significant interest in TDC in Spain, conducted by researchers in the field of educational technology concerned with teacher training and teacher professional development. We make recommendations to reorient the field by understanding TDC development through an integrated, transversal and holistic perspective; moving away from basic forms of research; and conducting and reporting research in line with methodological guidelines to ensure the highest possible standards. 

Implications for practice or policy:

  • Stakeholders interested in better fostering TDC could complement training and evaluation with an integrated and systems-based approach, including sustaining an institutional culture that strategically supports TDC development.
  • Researchers could move away from basic forms of research design in order to advance the field beyond self-assessment and evaluation studies.
  • Systematic review research can be improved by following rigorous methodological guidelines, including critical appraisal and transparent methods to synthesise studies, to ensure the highest academic integrity.


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Author Biographies

Mitchell Peters, Universitat Oberta de Cataluyna

Mitchell Peters is a post-doctoral researcher at the E-Learn Centre of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). His research interests include online higher education with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, mixed methods, and critical educational technology perspectives.

Dr. Elasri Ejjaberi, Universitat Oberta de Cataluyna

Amal Elasri-Ejjaberi is a Professor of Business at the UOC. She teaches international strategy and change management courses in the Faculty of Economics and Business. Her research interests lie in the areas of sport management and online higher education.

Dr. Jesus Martinez, Universitat Oberta de Cataluyna

María-Jesús Martínez-Argüelles is an Associate Professor of Business Organization. She is currently Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business at the UOC. Her research interests are focused on quality management in e-learning – in higher education and in companies continuous training- and on the development of competencies that improve the employability of graduates.

Dr. Fabregues

Sergi Fàbregues is an Associate Professor of Research Methods at the Department of Psychology and Education of the UOC, Associate Editor of the Journal of Mixed Methods Research, and Associate Member of the University of Michigan Mixed Methods Program. His qualitative and mixed methods research interests include quality appraisal, integration, analysis, and the process of carrying out systematic methodological reviews.




How to Cite

Peters, M., Elasri Ejjaberi, A., Jesús Martínez, M. ., & Fabregues, S. (2022). Teacher digital competence development in higher education: Overview of systematic reviews . Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 38(3), 122–139. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.7543