An important, but neglected aspect of learning assistance in higher education: Exploring the digital learning capacity of academic language and learning practitioners
Alejandra Speziali, Edith Cowan UniversityFollow
Maggie McAlinden, Edith Cowan UniversityFollow
Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice
University of Wollongong
School of Education
Digital literacy has become increasingly significant in tertiary environments, as institutions move towardspreparing students for 21st century workplaces and careers that emphasise digital literacy. As such, AcademicLanguage and Learning (ALL) practitioners within these institutions are under pressure to possess familiarityand skills in the digital education space. Despite this need, there is a shortage of evidence that identifies thecompetencies or gaps in the current knowledge that ALL advisors have in Australian tertiary institutions;there is also a lack of awareness about how to address the gaps in knowledge for technology-enhanced learningand academic support. In light of this lacuna, in late 2018, the Association for Academic Learning andLanguage (AALL), the professional body for Academic Language and Learning practitioners, established aworking group to investigate the knowledge and gaps in digital literacy in the ALL profession. The authors ofthis paper are all members of this working group and aim to explore the state of digital learning in their field.The long-term aim of the working party is to develop research-led resources and strategies to assist in theprofessionalisation and upskilling of ALL staff in technology-enhanced academic language development andsupport. This paper reports on the preliminary findings of a mixed-method participatory action research studyof ALL practitioners’ preferences, competencies and confidence in the digital learning space. It is hoped thatthis study will provide members within the AALL professional body, as well as tertiary educators generally,with strategies required to identify, develop and maintain effective digital literacies across the higher educationsector.