Digital Skills at Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea

Iwona Kolodziejczyk, Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea
Philip Gibbs, Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea
Cecilia Nembou, Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea
Maria Rodina Sagrista, Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea
Published: July 17, 2020

Citation: Kolodziejczyk, I., Gibbs, P., Nembou, C., & Sagrista, M. R. (2020). Digital Skills at Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea. IAFOR Journal of Education: Technology in Education, 8(2).


The purpose of the study was to investigate the level of digital skills within a group of university students in Papua New Guinea and their ability to meaningfully engage within the digital world. The study also aimed to explore whether the traditionally recognized digital divide continues between genders and place of origin, and between years of study and faculties. This study utilizes the framework defined by Van Deursen and Van Dijk who identify operational, formal, information and strategic skills. The study measured the internet skills of students by asking 289 participants to complete sixteen assignments on the internet. The results indicate that, on average, the tasks were completed as follows: 38% of operational skills, 13% of formal internet skills, 30% of information skills and 28% of strategic internet skills. Age and gender were not significant; however, performances were significantly different for students from the capital city as compared to those coming from a rural town or village environment, and performance improved as students moved through the four years of university training. Differences in groups from specific faculties are significant but require further study to explain. If operational and formal skills are a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for performance of higher-level information and strategic skills, then tertiary institutions, particularly those facing the effects of the digital divide, will need to ensure that those necessary skills are provided for. Having ensured digital competency at that level, further efforts can be made to develop information and strategic skills to ensure a meaningful and creative use of digital technologies.


digital skills, digital literacy framework, university, developing country, Papua New Guinea