The idea for the Digital Learner Stories came from feedback at a consultation event at the end of the Jisc Digital student: Skills sector study. Participants remarked that it would be useful to have real learner voices talking briefly about their digital experiences in various post-16 sectors. This would be a resource to help groups within institutions hear directly from learners and have better conversations about the role that technology plays in the present and in planning for the future; from teacher/lecturer training to library spaces to access to hardware and robust wifi.
And it has been a joy to work on the Digital Learner Stories and hear twelve stories from learners across the sectors. They provide inspirational snapshots of their digital experiences in HE, FE and Skills, as an adult learner in an evening class, as an apprentice, as part time and/or full time learners/employees, learning in a physical classroom or online at a college, university or as part of a continuing education institution. As individuals talk about how technology supports or makes a difference to their studies, what comes through is a love of learning – formally and informally – and a realisation that digital opportunities loosen some of the constraints of traditional education. Some of the participants would be unlikely to have been able to study in a previous time.
We are grateful to the staff who helped us find volunteers who were willing to share their digital stories. We are indebted to the 12 learners who gave their time to talk with us and to record a short video of their thoughts, sharing apps and enthusiasm for the role that digital technology plays in their lives. We hope that the stories and videos will stimulate discussion and promote individual and institutional reflection on the access and opportunities that are highlighted in these 12 stories.