Digital competence in early childhood education: A systematic review

Jiahong SU, Weipeng YANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Digital competence is a vital combination of knowledge, abilities, and attitudes required for effective and responsible use of digital tools and technologies in the modern world. This article presents a review of 23 academic papers that investigate digital competence in early childhood education (ECE) settings from 2012 to 2022. The purpose of this systematic literature review is to provide a thorough understanding of the definition of digital competence, how it is evaluated, research aims, methodologies, outcomes, limitations, and recommendations. The review revealed that the definitions of digital competence used in the included studies were drawn from three sources: research, policy document, and both policy and research. The majority of participants in the studies were pre-service teachers, and the primary research goals were to evaluate children’s or teachers’ achievements and participants’ views on digital competence. Most studies adopted quantitative methods, and their findings were linked to achievements in digital competence, positive and negative perceptions, the effectiveness of teaching strategies, and factors contributing to the development of digital competence. The two main limitations identified in the research were small sample sizes and limited assessment methods. This review highlights gaps in the current research on digital competence in ECE and suggests recommendations for future research and practice. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4885-4933
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
Early online dateJul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


Su, J., & Yang, W. (2024). Digital competence in early childhood education: A systematic review. Education and Information Technologies, 29, 4885-4933.


  • Digital competence
  • Early childhood education
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Systematic review


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