How Student Characteristics Affect Economy Students’ Digital Competences: A latent profile study


  • Lydia Schulze Heuling Western Norway University of Applied Science, Norway
  • Steffen Wild Heidelberg School of Education, Heidelberg University, Germany



digital competences, DigComp, co-op students, latent profile analysis, business school


The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) profoundly impacts in- dustry and work. It therefore is important for vocational education and training to em- phasize on the development of digital competences. However, we still know very little about how these skills are distributed among students in vocational education and train- ing (VET) in general, and the so-called ‘cooperative study programmes’ (CSP) in parti- cular. CSPs combine vocational education components with university coursework lead- ing up to a journeymen certificate and an academic degree simultaneously. This study analyses the digital competences of first-year students in a business-focussed CSP at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Germany, using a Ger- man version (the D21-Index) of the European framework for digital competences (DigComp) to assess students’ competence levels. A latent profile analysis revealed four competence profiles (reserved digitised, reserved appreciative, constructive digitised, and reflective digitised). Interestingly, our subsequent analysis showed that none of the student characteristics we assessed turned out to be distinctive for any of the four pro- files. Considerations of relevant inset points for VET institutions nationally and interna- tionally to develop tailored support of digital competence development of their students are integrated in the conclusions.


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How to Cite

Schulze Heuling, L., & Wild, S. (2021). How Student Characteristics Affect Economy Students’ Digital Competences: A latent profile study. Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 11(1), 44–70.



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