Unpacking 'Digital Competency': exploring the pre-existing skills of enabling education students

Understanding the pre-existing digital competency of commencing students is an important aspect of designing an effective learning environment for a course teaching foundational computing skills as part of an enabling program for tertiary education. In addition to the interplay of individual skills, experience and attitudes, current trends such as the adoption of mobile devices rather than traditional computers and an increasing variety of applications complicate our understanding of the term 'digital competency'. This qualitative study of factors such as age, previous experience and transferability of skills investigates assumptions about the existing skills that new students bring to their studies. It is suggested that the use of a broad term to describe digital competence is not useful for these students, and that a more comprehensive indicator that unpacks the term along different digital dimensions would be more beneficial.