Digital literacy and higher education during COVID-19 lockdown: Spain, Italy, and Ecuador

Santiago Tejedor, Laura Cervi*, Ana Pérez-Escoda, Fernanda Tusa Jumbo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Digital literacy constitutes the basis for citizenship in order to be effective and efficient in the 21st Century in professional and personal lives. The set of skills and competences integrating digital literacy are expected to be guaranteed in higher education. During the lockdown globally imposed for the COVID-19 pandemic, educational systems worldwide had to face many disruptive changes. The aim of this research is to present a comparative study of three countries’ higher education institutions (Spain, Italy, and Ecuador), analyzing how they have faced the global lockdown situation, focusing on the development of digital literacy. The methodological approach followed in this study was quantitative with an exploratory-correlational scope using a questionnaire designed ad hoc and applied in a sample of 376 students. Results point the necessity of enhancing the main aspects such as the teacher’s digital skills, sources for learning that may be adapted, communication between universities and students, and teaching methodologies that should be appropriate to the current context. Conclusions may suggest rethinking higher education learning and reinforcing main issues for this transformation, mainly: communication, teaching, and digital competences. Otherwise, digital literacy is not being guaranteed, which means higher education is not accomplishing one of its main objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Communication
  • Digital literacy
  • Generation Z
  • Higher education
  • Lockdown
  • Students


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