University of Oulu

Sormunen, Marjorita PhD, RN; Saaranen, Terhi PhD, RN, PHN; Heikkilä, Asta PhD, RN; Sjögren, Tuulikki PhD, PT; Koskinen, Camilla PhD, RN; Mikkonen, Kristina PhD, RN; Kääriäinen, Maria PhD, PHN; Koivula, Meeri PhD; Salminen, Leena PhD, RN, PHN Digital Learning Interventions in Higher Education, CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: December 2020 - Volume 38 - Issue 12 - p 613-624 doi: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000645

Digital learning interventions in higher education : a scoping review

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Author: Sormunen, Marjorita1,2; Saaranen, Terhi1; Heikkilä, Asta3;
Organizations: 1Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio
2Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio
3Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku
4Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä
5University of Stavanger, Faculty of Health Science, Department of Caring and Ethics
6Åbo Akademi, Faculty of Pedagogy and Welfare Studies, Department of Caring Science, Turku
7Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu
8Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu
9The Finnish Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care: A Joanna Briggs Institute Centre of Excellence, Helsinki
10Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Wolters Kluwer, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-12-01


This scoping review was undertaken to synthesize and describe research related to digital learning interventions in higher education, focusing on technological outcomes. Five electronic databases were searched, and 86 articles were included in the review. The data related to positive and negative technological outcomes and authors’ suggestions were analyzed using inductive content analysis. The articles represented six disciplines across six continents and included quantitative (n = 65), qualitative (n = 3), and mixed-methods (n = 18) intervention studies. For positive technological outcomes, digital formats of learning were considered effective and participatory forms of learning in a majority of the articles. The students appreciated individualized and self-paced learning, and the digital form increased their motivation to learn. Automatized technical solutions that enabled learning and teaching had several advantages, and digital learning was believed to save the resources of students, teachers, and organizations. For negative technological outcomes, the technical difficulties in using the digital devices or platforms were described the most, and a need for resources was identified. Feedback from teachers was considered important from positive and negative viewpoints. Authors’ suggestions for future digital teaching and learning as well as related interventions consisted of various activities, resources, environments, and methods.

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Series: Computers, informatics, nursing
ISSN: 1538-2931
ISSN-E: 1538-9774
ISSN-L: 1538-2931
Volume: 38
Issue: 12
Pages: 613 - 624
DOI: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000645
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
316 Nursing
Funding: The authors thank the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland, for funding the study.
Copyright information: Copyright © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved. This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: December 2020 - Volume 38 - Issue 12 - p 613-624 doi: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000645