Beyond Stereotyping: Understanding Student Readiness for Network Centric Learning

Research Paper Title

Beyond Stereotyping: Understanding Student Readiness for Network Centric Learning


Many commentators and educators credit commencing university students from the ‘Net’ or ‘Y’ generation with being well versed in the use of today’s wide range of sophisticated information and communication technologies (ICT) such as the latest Web 2.0 applications and services. Yet to date few studies have sought empirical evidence of these students’ actual ICT experiences, attitudes, and expectations as they enter higher education. Furthermore the researchers argue that defence academies constitute a special case and warrant such studies given that the characteristics of their student populations may differ considerably from their public university counterparts.

This paper reports the findings of a comprehensive study of pre-entry ICT experiences, skills, and attitudes of first year students at the Australian Defence Force Academy. The aim of the study was to gain an accurate understanding of students’ pre-entry use of ICT as an evidence-base for making informed decisions about the educational deployment of, and developmental support for, Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

The paper, by providing valuable evidence about students’ pre-entry use of ICT, helps to identify barriers to the expanding educational use of ICT and offers valuable insights into opportunities for future developments. The researchers show how defence education and training establishments can make evidence-based decisions on how best to allocate time and resources to meet both rapidly evolving education technologies and the skill requirements of Network-Centric Warfare & Security (NCW/S) environments.

The paper raises the importance of replacing assumptions and anecdotal evidence about Generation ‘Y’ students with an empirical, evidence-based framework for the design of network-centric learning that takes account of their actual ICT skill levels and the need to build ICT related graduate attributes required for competent operation in digital rich Network-Centric Warfare & Security (NCW/S) environments.


Beyond Stereotyping, Understanding Student Readiness for Network Centric Learning (Eijkman & Herrmann, 2009)


Eijkman, H. & Herrmann, A. (2009) Beyond Stereotyping: Understanding Student Readiness for Network Centric Learning. Proceedings. Defence Academies and Colleges 2009 International Conference. Network Centric Learning: Towards Authentic ePractices. 25th – 27th March 200, p.23-37.


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