Attributes of digital natives as predictors of information literacy in higher education


Work data:

ISSN: 1467-8535

Type of work: Article (academic)


Digital Literacy




Digital natives are assumed to possess knowledge and skills that allow them to handle information and communication technologies (ICT) tools in a “natural” way. Accordingly, this calls for the application of different teaching/learning strategies in education. The purpose of the study was to test the predictive strength of some attributes of digital nativeness (ICT ownership, ICT experiences, internet confidence and number of ICT-rich university courses) on the information literacy (IL) of 299 Slovenian university students. Correlation and regression analysis based on survey data revealed that the attributes of digital natives are poor predictors of IL. The principal findings are: ICT experiences expressed as the sum of the use of different applications do not necessarily contribute to IL; some applications have a positive and some a negative effect; personal ownership of smartphones, portable computers and desktop computers has no direct effect on IL, while ownership of a tablet computer is actually a negative predictor; personal ownership of ICT devices has an impact on ICT experiences and Internet confidence, and, therefore, an indirect impact on IL; and ICT-rich university courses (if not designed to cultivate IL) have only a marginal impact on IL, although they may have some impact on ICT experiences and Internet confidence. The overall conclusion is that digital natives are not necessarily information literate, and that IL should be promoted with hands-on and minds-on courses based on IL standards.