An Integrative Review of Literature on Learners in the Digital Era

Eliana Gallardo Echenique


The purpose of this paper is to report on the state of knowledge in education related to the concept of the "digital native" and affiliated concepts, as well as on how the literature was identified, analyzed, synthesized, and reported. To address the research aim, an integrative literature review was performed. In all, 355 articles (both qualitative and quantitative) published between 1991 and 2013 were reviewed. On the basis of the findings, the literature review revealed 46 terms related to the notion of this "new generation" of students, some similar, others quite different, and many redundant. The three most common terms in circulation are: digital natives, net generation, and millennials. The author recommends moving beyond the superficial dichotomy of "natives" and "immigrants", focusing on the implications of being a learner in a digital era, and taking into account factors such as age, gender, education, culture, experience, institutional context, learning design, social inclusion and exclusion, subject discipline, and socio-economic background.

Klíčová slova

digital learner; digital era; digital technologies; higher education; integrative literature review

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