Berman & Hassell

Digital Native and Digital Immigrant Use of Scholarly Network for Doctoral Learners

Ronald Berman, Ed.D, Grand Canyon University College of Doctoral Studies,
Deliesha Hassell, M.Ed., Grand Canyon University College of Doctoral Studies


The Doctoral Community Network (DC) is a learner driven, scholarly community designed to help online doctoral learners successfully complete their dissertation and program of study. While digital natives grew up in an environment immersed in technology, digital immigrants adapted to this environment through their ability to learn and adjust to new technologies. With several thousand Doctoral Community Network users, it was not known to what extent digital immigrants had embraced the technology. A study of 988 users determined that digital immigrants used the Doctoral Community Network more often and for a larger variety of purposes than digital natives did. Specifically, digital immigrants log-on more frequently, view leadership content at higher rates, read more blogs, use more doctoral community network research resources, and send and receive more peer messages than digital natives do. This research supports existing literature that found that digital immigrants possess higher levels of social reliance than digital natives while contradicting other literature that found that digital natives tend to use the internet for social networking and blog diaries at higher rates.


Virtual Community, Learning Community, On-line learning

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