The emergence of new digital technologies in the 21st century has propelled individuals to use technology in their daily lives. Individuals now require a specific set of skills, competencies and knowledge to use these devices efficiently, intelligently yet with responsibility. The purpose of this research was to design, develop and validate a digital literacy scale (DLS) using the exploratory factor analysis (EFA).
A quantitative research methodology was used for this study, whereby a unipolar 5 point Likert scale self-report questionnaire was designed to measure the digital skills of the participants. Digital literacy was divided into an exhaustive and broad list of six modules-media literacy, information literacy, communication literacy, technology literacy, visual literacy and computer literacy. The questionnaire was administered to a sample of the 2,755 Year 12 and Year 13 students of randomly selected 33 secondary school students in Fiji. Sample adequacy of the sample was tested using the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin test.
The EFA results prove the existence of the six modules of digital literacy that are being utilized in this research to design the DLS. The factor loadings or the correlation coefficients range from 0.3 to 0.8; therefore, all the 60 items were kept to design the DLS. The Cronbach Alpha value of 0.90 confirmed the internal consistency and reliability of the newly designed DLS.
The research limitation of the study was the sample size. A broader sample would have made the results better. Research implications are; there is no scale in the south Pacific to measure digital literacy. The newly designed and developed scale is the first one that can be used to measure the digital literacy of the south Pacific populace and bridge the gap of the digital divide.
The developed and validated scale can be used to measure the digital literacy of individuals both in the south Pacific and beyond. The scale covers important aspects of the much needed 21st century skills. Once digital literacy is measured, relevant stakeholders can develop instruments to improve the digital literacy of individuals.
The DLS can prove to be an important tool for society. In the 21st century people are required to have digital literacy to survive and thrive. Thus this tool can be used to measure digital literacy and further improve the digital literacy of the people.
The framework has been adopted from the work of Covello (2010) however, the definitions of digital literacy and other literacies are modified to meet the requirements of the 21st century. The tool is unique in its nature in the south Pacific and beyond. Looking at the digital literacy tools in literature, this tool covers all the aspects of digital literacy in the 21st century.
The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-10-2021-0532.
Reddy, P., Chaudhary, K., Sharma, B. and Hussein, S. (2023), "Essaying the design, development and validation processes of a new digital literacy scale", Online Information Review, Vol. 47 No. 2, pp. 371-397. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-10-2021-0532
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