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Plos One

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Communication Technologies, ICT skills -- Case studies


We develop an integrative conceptual framework that seeks to explain individual differences in the ability to use information and communication technologies (ICT skills). Building on practice engagement theory, this framework views the continued usage of digital technologies at work and in everyday life (ICT use) as the key prerequisite for the acquisition of ICT skills. At the same time, the framework highlights that ICT use is itself contingent upon individual and contextual preconditions. We apply this framework to data from two recent German large-scale studies (N = 2,495 and N = 2,786, respectively) that offer objective measures of adults’ ICT skills. Findings support our framework’s view of ICT use as a key prerequisite for ICT skills. Moreover, they demonstrate that literacy skills have strong associations with ICT skills, largely by virtue of their indirect associations through ICT use. By comparison, regional digital cultures (as proxied by internet domain registration rates) evince only limited explanatory power for individual differences in ICT skills.


Copyright: © 2021 Wicht et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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