This presentation outlines some key results from the Nordic research project Lifelong learning’s role in the digital transformation and digital inclusion, conducted in 2020-2021 (Buhl et al. 2022). The project took its point of departure from reports mapping that despite the offering of several digital skill courses, a considerable part of the Nordic population - estimated 20-30% - become excluded due to lack of digital competencies (Slåtto 2020).
The aim of the project was to identify digital transformation’s excluding mechanism and develop ways to reach ‘hard to reach learners’ in a society with an increasing digitalization of everyday life.
The methodology drew on design-based research (DBR) (Amiel & Reeves 2008) and the problem identification was conducted in co-creation with essential stakeholders in the field: citizens, front face professionals, and managers and in close collaboration with the (NVL digital). Output from this problem identification phase was analysed drawing on insights from socio-material theorising (Orlikowski 2007; Alldred & Alldred 2015), which revealed how diverse social and material actors organise situations that may prevent citizens from developing digital empowerment. Four problems were identified:
- Lack of meaning, which articulates that the citizen’s needs are not met
- Institutional skepticism which articulates that the citizen is treated as a client instead of a citizen and lacks trust in the system
- Lack of collaboration which articulates that the citizen feels trapped in contradictory professional initiatives
- Technological entanglement which articulates that the citizen’s opportunities to act become retained by the inability to master digital systems
Arising from these findings, five recommendations were developed and materialized in a design of digital toolkit for conversation based on principles of a citizen and stakeholder perspectives as resources. The principles concern, recognising the ubiquity of digitalisation, everyday life as the turning point, creating flexible opportunities for participation, relation-chains as drivers for engaging professionally in digital problem identification and -solving, and connecting to relevance. Based on project results, we suggest that by involving essential actors, and in particular citizens, we are provided with an opportunity to develop adequate and sustainable initiatives for participation in a digital society.


Alldred, N. & Alldred, P. (2015). New materialist social inquiry: designs, methods and the research-assemblage. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18(4), 399-414.

Amiel, T., & Reeves, T. C. (2008). Design Based Research and Educational Technology: Rethinking Technology and the Research Agenda. Educational Technology & Society, 11(4), 29–40.
Buhl, M., Dille, M.H.B., Kaarstein, A. (2022). Livslang lærings rolle i den digitale transformation – hard to reach citizens. Aalborg Universitet og Nordisk Netværk for Voksnes Læring

Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). Sociomaterial Practices: Exploring Technology at Work. Organization Studies, 28(9), 1435–1448. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840607081138

Slåtto, T. (2020). Learning for everyone in a digital society. Nordic Network for Adult Learning. https://nvl.org/content/learning-for-everyone-in-a-digital-society
Publikationsdato15 feb. 2023
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 15 feb. 2023
BegivenhedLifelong Learning conference ICDE, 2023 - Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer, Norge
Varighed: 15 feb. 202317 feb. 2023


KonferenceLifelong Learning conference ICDE, 2023
LokationInland Norway University of Applied Sciences


  • digital inclusion
  • adult learners
  • lifelong learning


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