Enhancing the Digital Literacy Experience of Teachers to Bolster Learning in the 21st Century





early years education; 21st century skills; digital literacy; teacher education curriculum; resources and appropriation theory


The interconnected constructs of education in the 21st century cannot be divorced from teacher training. This article reports on the digital literacy experience of teachers amidst the worldwide recommendations of using distance learning and open educational applications to address education during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Altogether, 840 participants were purposively selected from urban, semi-urban, and rural areas in South Africa; 217 completed an online qualitative survey, while 23 took part in three virtual focus-group discussions. Van Dijk’s Resources and Appropriation Theory guided the study. Data analysis involved descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. The findings revealed the gaps between what is expected of teachers and their own realities, besides teachers’ eagerness to be involved in digital literacy. Recommendations include the need to continually align the teacher education curriculum with the country’s skills need and to provide teachers with the required support. Associated directions for further research are suggested.

Author Biographies

Folake Ruth Aluko, Unit for Distance Education Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria

Dr F. R. Aluko is the researcher within the Unit for Distance Education at the University of Pretoria. She manages the quality of the institution’s Open Distance Learning programs. Ruth facilitates training and workshops, and is involved in the evaluation of ODL programs. Ruth is a co-editor of the books Assuring institutional quality in Open Distance Learning (ODL) in the developing contexts and Exploring dual and mixed mode provision of distance education. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Africa Education Review, and she is the second-term President of the National Association of Distance Education in Southern Africa (NADEOSA). Her research focus areas include quality management of ODL programmes, mobile learning, access, social justice, program evaluation, student support, and teacher professional development. Ruth is a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher, a peer review system that assesses the standing of South African researchers. Email: ruth.aluko@up.ac.za

Mary Atieno Ooko, University of Pretoria

Dr M. Ooko holds a Doctoral Degree in Didactics of e Learning and Distance Education from the University of South Africa, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Administration, from the University of Nicosia, Cyprus.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech and Hearing Education from the State University of New York and has experience spanning thirty years in the teaching/teacher training field, and e-learning implementation. Dr. Ooko was the founding Chair of the Education Department and the founding Director of the Institute of Open and Distance Learning at Africa Nazarene University. She was the Director of Kabarak University Online and served at the United States International University as the Director of USIU Africa Online. Dr. Ooko is the Manager of the Unit for Distance Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria. Email: mary.ooko@up.ac.za



How to Cite

Aluko, F. R., & Ooko, M. A. (2022). Enhancing the Digital Literacy Experience of Teachers to Bolster Learning in the 21st Century. Journal of Learning for Development, 9(3), 420–435. https://doi.org/10.56059/jl4d.v9i3.662



Research Articles