Vol. 14 No. 2 (2023): MEDIA EDUCATION – Studi, ricerche e buone pratiche

10 Facilitators of sense of belonging through Digital Competences: a qualitative study with educational science students

Laura Fernández-Rodrigo
Complutense University of Madrid
Arnau Erta-Majó
Universitat de Lleida
Simona Tirocchi
Università di Torino

Published 2023-12-31


  • digital competences,
  • digital technologies,
  • inclusive education,
  • sense of belonging,
  • social inclusion

Funding data


This study explores how digital competences (DC) can contribute to fostering the sense of belonging in social groups. It examines the factors that shape belonging agency, trust, and social capital, while considering the potential of digital technologies to promote it and the role of DC in enhancing social inclusion, also in an intersectional perspective. This research uses qualitative methods and peer-research following the last version of the DigComp model developed by European Commission. A total of 108 participants from two universities from the European context were involved. The results identified 10 facilitators of sense of belonging: common interest, learning and engagement, voice and empowering, communication, interculturality, leisure activities, shared emotions, being informed, freedom of speech, and group values and norms. The findings highlight the ways in which DC, such as content creation, problem-solving, and communication and collaboration, contribute to fostering a sense of belonging into social groups. Finally, the study points out that digital technologies can be a tool to support the facilitators of belonging rather than being the central focus. The research underscores the importance of considering actions and abilities rather than specific tools in promoting social belonging in the digital era.


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