Digital Learning Interventions in Higher Education: A Scoping Review

Marjorita Sormunen, Terhi Saaranen, Asta Heikkilä, Tuulikki Sjögren, Camilla Koskinen, Kristina Mikkonen, Maria Kääriäinen, Meeri Koivula, Leena Salminen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-624
JournalComputers, Informatics, Nursing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Digital learning
  • Higher education
  • Intervention study
  • Scoping review
  • Technological outcomes


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