IDEAS for developing Digital Skills


Nowadays the web offers hundreds of ways of learning. The IDEA model is a proposal for the development of digital skills that promote self-learning throughout life.

Photo: Bigstock

The web provides diverse spaces and opportunities for learning, since anyone can choose to empower themselves and decide what, how, when and where to learn, as well as what for. The fundamental digital skills for empowerment and learning are self-management, information management, creativity and collaboration on the Internet. But how can the development of these digital skills be fostered for lifelong learning? The Dimensional Integrations of Empowerment and Learning (IDEA as per its Spanish acronym) model is a techno-pedagogical alternative aimed at the development of these skills. 

IDEA is a model that can be used by any teacher, researcher or student.

The IDEA model integrates technology, pedagogy and didactics in flexible online educational proposals, hence its techno-pedagogical nature. Over three years, teachers, instructional designers, instructors and students, through research and practical experience, improved the model, having applied it mainly in the management of Digital Learning Objects (digital entities that present structured content, learning and evaluation activities), websites, blogs, infographics, graphic organizers, videos, WebQuest and online courses, demonstrating their practical experiences. Since this model is licensed by creative commons with derivative works, it can be used freely and free of charge to develop content in digital spaces and also to create MOOC courses.

The IDEA model consists of four phases: design, production, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

Diagram of the IDEA model version 2017-2018 by Elvia Garduño Teliz 

The IDEA model was applied in a massive open online course (MOOC) called Management of Digital Learning Objects on the Canvas educational platform. The course participants (mostly teachers, although there were some students) generated structured digital content based on their passions, needs, interests, problems or challenges. This content was generated using the different management phases proposed in the IDEA model. This MOOC can also be found in the virtual classroom available on the model’s website. 

The IDEA model consists of four phases: design, production, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. In the design phase, ideas are generated on the desired learning objective. Participants reflect on their problems, challenges, interests, needs, expectations or passions, sharing them in an initial forum within the course, thus enriching and facilitating decision-making about the learning objectives. Once the idea is defined, the design guide is displayed through infographics, graphic organizers or digital presenters. 

Continuing with the process, in the production phase, participants generate a techno-pedagogical device, which is the name given to digital content that integrates a structured personal learning vision to fulfill a pedagogical goal through an open access, free or trial web application. These devices are:

  • Exhibition: infographics, presentations, digital narratives, videos, graphic organizers.
  • Collaboration: wikis, collaborative boards, collaborative editing. 
  • Practice: content managers, digital notebooks. 
  • Evaluation: questionnaires, quizzes and games. 

During the implementation phase, participants build an application strategy for their techno-pedagogical device, in which they reflect on and determine the virtual and face-to-face spaces for publication, dissemination, socialization and monitoring. 

Learning connections can be generated by means of blogs, educational platforms, digital repositories, expert communities, website organizers and social networks. These connections are made based on the shared interests and audiences in the techno-pedagogical device content.

Finally, in the monitoring and evaluation phase, participants evaluate the techno-pedagogical device according to three criteria: content quality, effectiveness potential and ease of use. To achieve this, they generate an instrument that contains reflective questions and administer it to the audience. The information obtained serves to make decisions for continuous improvement purposes. 

IDEA is a model that can be used by any teacher, researcher or student. If you would like further information on participating in this experience or on its application, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

About the author

Elvia Garduño Teliz  ( holds a B.Sc. in Public Accounting and Informatics, an M.A. in Educational Science, and is a Ph.D. in Pedagogy candidate from UNAM, Mexico. She is the creator of the IDEA model, a research professor at Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero and techno-pedagogical manager with more than 10 years’ experience in educational platforms, virtual and blended courses, Digital Learning Objectives and MOOC.