Information and Digital Literacy 16-18-Year-Olds 2023 update – report available to purchase

What skills support do incoming University students need to help them succeed during their studies and beyond?

Universities make significant investments in introducing new students to their library and digital education offer and providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to use the library effectively, access teaching and learning online and succeed in their studies. With the educational disruption and growth in digital poverty seen during the pandemic, combined with the rise of online learning provision in universities, it is increasingly challenging to support young people with their information and digital literacy skills.

This updated insight collaboration for 2023, ‘Information and Digital Library skills: 16-18-year-olds,’ builds on previous research conducted by Alterline in 2017 and will enable you to:

  • Build an evidence base of the gaps in knowledge and experience of new students and the support they need to excel in their studies
  • Identify opportunities for new programmes or initiatives that could better support incoming students
  • Understand how the situation has changed since Alterline’s research in 2017 to identify areas for further development
  • Target messaging and communications to the students who need support the most.

More about the 16-18 year old information and digital literacy project

This research project was based on the online survey responses of 750 16 to 18 year-olds in the UK who were considering applying for, or had applied to, university. A three-day online qualitative community was also conducted with 25 prospective students. The report was completed in June 2023.

It explores the digital preparedness of 16- to 18-year-olds for their academic career at university.

As well as the full research findings, insights and evidence from the primary research project, the full 81-page report includes an executive summary and practical recommendations.

Report contents include:

  • What the current behaviours are of 16-18 year-olds when searching for, using and managing information
  • Insight into the digital behaviours and digital lives of potential students
  • Digital confidence and digital literacy
  • Young people’s perceptions of what will be expected of them at university and what they expect of the university and online learning support

Project partners

This project was developed in partnership with a number of clients who helped to shape the research design through our collaborative research model. With thanks to:

  • University of Birmingham
  • City, University of London
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Reading