Skip to main content

Research project: Digital Learning

Teacher competences, instructional quality and remote instruction during COVID

The currently discussed process of digitalizing schools and instruction is frequently connected to the goal of preparing learners as well as possible for social participation and thus for competent behavior in the digital world (Ferrari, 2013; Kultusministerkonferenz, 2016). Here, little is known about digital teaching quality, teacher competence and remote instruction using digital media. These are the questions addressed by the research project "Digital Learning."

Project aims

The project seeks to identify quality criteria for digital instruction and to model teachers’ and student teachers’ self-assessed areas of competence around the use of digital technologies. It further examines the role of digital instructional quality in remote instruction during the pandemic. In addition, it looks at the extent to which digital competence assessments can be taught and encouraged in the context of teacher education. 

The aim is thus to capture digital instructional quality, digital competence self-assessments, attitudes toward digital media and the frequency of use of digital technologies, and to provide school equipment and training in digital lesson design, as well as improve the digital instructional quality of teachers and student teachers.

How are good lessons designed with digital media during the pandemic and how are teachers prepared for this? This question shall be investigated in this study conducted within the Department of School Pedagogy at the University of Potsdam.

Information on the survey, sample and initial results


Online survey via Twitter and Newsletter

Survey period

May-June 2020


  • 1103 teachers - 909 (97.7 %) from Germany, 15 (1.6 %) from Austria and 6 (0.6 %) from Switzerland 
  • 253 teachers in the preparatory phase - 220 (92.1 %) from Germany, 4 (1.7 %) from Austria and 6 (2.5 %) from Switzerland
  • 926 student teachers - 730 (82.0 %) from Germany, 38 (4.3 %) from Austria and 106 (11.9 %) from Switzerland

Initial results

Evaluating the data collected for the project yields the following preliminary results:

Table 1 depicts the attendance at continuing education courses by the teachers participating in the survey, for both in-person and online training in digital media in classrooms over the last two years. The results show that the surveyed teachers on average attended relatively few training courses (M = 3.88, SD = 4.15; Range: min. 0 – max. 22). Low participation was observed for both in-person (M = 2.22, SD = 2.52; Range: min. 0 – max. 12) and online training courses (M = 1.70, SD = 2.33, Range: min. 0 – max. 12).

Table 2 reveals the frequency of contact with learners during the remote instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Surveyed teachers reported having contact with their students multiple times a week (36.4 %), weekly (25.5 %) or daily (25.5 %). Only 2.4 % of teachers reported having had no contact with their students.


Please direct any questions about the project to:

Isabell Runge, tel. +49 331 - 977 2566  or email