Experiments in digital literacy

Yoram Eshet-Alkali, Yair Amichai-Hamburger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Having digital literacy requires more than just the ability to use software or to operate a digital device; it includes a large variety of complex skills such as cognitive, motoric, sociological, and emotional that users need to have in order to use digital environments effectively. A conceptual model that was recently described by the authors suggests that digital literacy comprises five major digital skills: photo-visual skills ("reading" instructions from graphical displays), reproduction skills (utilizing digital reproduction to create new, meaningful materials from preexisting ones), branching skills (constructing knowledge from non-linear, hypertextual navigation), information skills (evaluating the quality and validity of information), and socio-emotional skills (understanding the "rules" that prevail in cyberspace and applying this understanding in online cyberspace communication). The present paper presents results from a performance-based pioneer study that investigated the application of the above digital literacy skills conceptual model among different groups of scholars. Results clearly indicate that the younger participants performed better than the older ones, with photo-visual and branching literacy tasks, whereas the older participants were found to be more literate in reproduction and information literacy tasks. Research results shed light on the cognitive skills that users utilize in performing with digital environments, and provide educators and software developers with helpful guidelines for designing better user-centered digital environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-429
Number of pages9
JournalCyberpsychology and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004


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