Why is digital supervision so famous? 

Digital supervision is a phenomenon that has gained more focus in recent years, especially within student supervision. Many people are already aware of the benefits of supervision. The benefits are amongst: Better working environment, quality of services, and competence development. It is still challenging for someone to get good supervision. In recent years, there have been some tools for digital supervision that utilize the value of technology.

We would argue that digital supervision makes it easier to implement and have good supervision. But, do not take our word for it. Below we will refer to findings from Dillern and Jakobsen (2020) and Melby and Mordal (2017)’s reports. Here they write about experiences with the implementation of digital services within competence and development.


Structure through digital supervision

Dillern and Jakobsen (2020) write about experiences with digital services in student supervision. It includes testing several tools within the supervision of nursing students in the North. The background was a lack of follow-up and varying competence among the supervisors previously.


The authors found that digital supervision helped to create a larger structure that resulted in less informal conversations. The conversations were more on the topic. One prepared more than one did without tools (Dillern & Jacobsen, 2020). Structure is a success criterion for good supervision.


Melby and Mordal (2017) write about the implementation of the competence portal. This includes the digital tool for doctors in the specialization. Where doctors in specialist education are supervised by experienced doctors. The authors also found that the tool contributed to more systematic and targeted work with employees’ competence development. In their report, there was a greater focus on having complete training plans in the tool. They show that complete training plans increase the likelihood of completing supervision.


Melby and Mordal (2017) also point to other benefits of digital tools. These benefits include employees ‘overview of their competence and employees’ ownership of their competence development. They say that competence development is more motivating for the employees now that they have more responsibility. Regarding motivation, the authors write that it is a tool the employees have wanted and were motivated to use.



Success criteria for digital supervision

Reference is made to various criteria for benefiting from digital supervision. Dillern and Jakobsen (2020) write, for example, that there was little training in the use of the technology initially. This was a threshold to apply and reach the benefits of digital supervision. Different digital skills may be related to the fact that they found variation in how often the different ones used the digital services.


In Melby and Mordal (2017), on the other hand, there was training in the digital tool. The participants however, told that there was almost no need for training because the tool was so intuitive. The two different findings may indicate that different digital competence among employees refers to different needs for training in-services for digital supervision. Some do not need it, and others need it. It can also indicate the need of a good user experience design.


Dillern and Jakobsen (2020) also write that it must be considered who has access to the data that is entered. If everyone has access to reflections a student puts out, there may be a greater threshold for being open and honest. Compared to situations where the student shares the information with fewer people he or she trusts.



Based on the articles above, digital supervision is popular because it structures and targets tutoring. The technology also provides room to create greater motivation around the implementation of competence measures. To achieve this motivation and usefulness in digital services, one must temporarily take into account various aspects such as access control and training.

Dillern, & Jakobsen. (2020). “Interaction despite distance”: Use of digital tools in the guidance of nursing students in practical studies. Nord University. https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2656618 

Melby, L., & Mordal, S. (2017).Follow-up evaluation of project “Competence management” in Health Central Norway (2017: 00540). Obtained from: https://www.sintef.no/globalassets/sintef- teknologi-og-samfunn/avdelinger/helse/rapport-kompetanseledelse_endelig- 27.10.17.pdf 

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