The challenges and opportunities of ICT in WIL: A case study among priests exploring the correlation and trajectory between effective WIL and ICT pervasiveness
Purpose: Programmes and courses integrating learning and work, captured generally in this paper as work integrated learning (WIL), usually provide flexible and innovative learning opportunities. In a digital age, information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be vital in delivering and enhancing such hybrid forms of WIL. The purpose of this paper is to explore the correlation and trajectory of ICT use among priests in the Church of England in the various forms of WIL. Design/methodology/approach: The case study explores ICT use among a sample of Church of England priests by examining initially their use of virtual learning environments (VLEs) such as Blackboard and Moodle in work-based learning (WBL); and assessing the trajectory and correlation to work-related learning (WRL) through their use of social networking/engagement tools such as Facebook and Twitter in continuing professional development courses (CPD). The correlation and trajectory is provided through a document analysis of VLE access and a survey questionnaire., Findings: Priests in WBL and priests engaged in WRL (i.e. CPD courses) revealed a correlation in the lack of ICT pervasiveness. With only a minority of priests engaging in further higher education (HE), the familiarity and use of ICT such as VLE platforms stagnated or declined. Correlated with social networking/engagement, priests overwhelmingly cited the ‘lack of time’ as a reason not to engage with social media, however, ICT reluctance caused by fear was the trajectory resulting in a further lack of ‘ICT pervasiveness’. Research limitations/implications: While results may be generalisable among Church of England priests and other faith communities internationally, due to its unique and distinctive parameters, it is not generalisable to the general mature student adult education population., Practical implications: The case study highlighted that continued intentional familiarisation and use of ICT within the various forms of WIL programmes and courses among ‘non-digital natives’ would enhance learning. Such learning in WIL would be beneficial for HE programmes addressing e-readiness as a priority. Social implications: Specific to the sample case study, considering the importance of community engagement and WIL, this study highlights the challenges and changes required for improved social capital within the field of ICT and adult education. Originality/value: No studies have considered the training and education of priests as a WIL case study of ICT ‘pervasiveness’ and self-efficacy.