Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Digital Literacy: let’s discuss this fundamental challenge of our times

Groups audience: 

Digital inclusion has become a right. Literature, governments, citizens, enterprises, bloggers all agree. However, digital inclusion cannot happen without digital literacy.

What are IT companies doing to build digital literacy among citizens, customers and employees? Have your say!

There are many challenges along the way to digital inclusion: ensuring connectivity and proper band width, protecting privacy and building trust…These are just some examples but digital literacy must be the starting point. It is not just about the ability to use computers, apps and digital resources, but also about being able to use them safely.

With input from Professor Michael Fourman of the University of Edinburgh, participants at the first R-ICT stakeholder meeting in Edinburgh on 06/05/2014 agreed on the complexity and importance of digital inclusion and digital literacy.

This multi-faceted topic needs your input! So the R-ICT network is launching the ICT4Society Cafè by asking you:

  • What do you think are the greatest challenges to digital literacy and what potential solutions can you propose?

  • What does your organisation do to build digital literacy among citizens, customers and staff?

  • Do you have any particularly successful initiatives in building digital literacy to share with the network

You may find some food for thoughts in the following section of DAE:


4 users have voted.


Giulia Bubbolini's picture

I googled "digital literacy CSR" and here is where the first entry led me to It is about the Intel after-school, community-based learning program that enables youth in underserved areas to access cutting-edge technology and become self-confident, motivated learners and leaders. The network is based on a learning model created by the Boston Museum of Science in collaboration with MIT Media Labs. No matter what your company size, there is always a lot to learn from good practices and inspiring stories. Let’s hear about yours.
8 users have voted.
Giulia Bubbolini's picture

I had a look at the US Government's, “the destination for digital literacy resources and collaboration”.

There’s lots of “in the community” stories enabled by public authorities, but surely businesses can play their part. Look for inspiration on or tell us your story on how your company supports digital literacy.  

6 users have voted.
Alicia Gonzalez Bayon's picture

In order to get high levels of progress and wellbeing in the twenty-first century, the society requires a massive incorporation of citizens to the new knowledge and tools, which allow access to new ways of economical and social development. To achieve them, basic training on ICT must impregnate the everyday life of people, regardless the sector they belong to, because it is about creating a new communication and relationship culture among the citizens and organizations, either from a small town, a big city or an entire region.
One of the main challenges of digital literacy in Extremadura, Spain, are the topographical difficulties and geographical situation, far from the administrative and economical centers, of many municipalities of Extremadura, and that there are disadvantaged social sectors not considered usual potential consumers due to several reasons: their low purchasing power, their labor situation or their difficulties for social inclusion, as can be the majority of pensioners, women still considered housewives or that has to meet family needs that prevent them from accessing to certain goods or services, young people that has no enough resources, ethnic minorities, unemployed people with some disabilities..

To avoid exclusion and be able to ensure equal opportunities for all citizens, Extremadura has developed a Digital Literacy Plan, whose main objectives are: to achieve connectivity of all municipalities of Extremadura and ensure digital literacy of all citizens, regardless the place where they live.

Under this Digital Literacy Plan, there have been created New Knowledge Centers (NKC) in order to promote among the most disadvantaged sectors, the necessary skills for using new technologies (immigrants, old people with disabilities, young people and women at risk of exclusion, unemployed…)
Some results from these NKC:
- More than 82.222 users have participated in the digital literacy process.
- 700.000 visits to the NKC
- More than 2.200 web pages developed
- More than 25.000 mail accounts created

8 users have voted.
Roger Horam's picture

An excellent programme runs in Edinburgh - The Digital Skills Academy ( They've worked with over 1000 unemployed people over the last 20 months getting them equipped for online applications, using social media for employment and giving them the basic digital literacy skills needed for work

7 users have voted.
Farnaz Motamediyan's picture

I found this research from Stockholm university on swedish digital literacy progress.

5 users have voted.
Marino Cavallo's picture

In the last week in Milan there was the CSR Fair in University Bocconi. This is one of the most important event about the accademic research in CSR. You may find also a showcase of the most important actors and interprises of CSR in Italy. Here the link:

4 users have voted.
Audrone Telesiene's picture

When we speak about Digital literacy, we shouldn‘t think only about broadening the scope or increasing the number of those digitally literate. I think the next step we shouldn‘t overlook is the depth and the quality of this kind of literacy. Are those in power positions or those in socially important positions literate enough? Have they reached a professional level? Do their digital literacy skills hinder or enable more efficient ways of operating in everyday job situations? Also there’s the question of responsibility and safety. Are those responsible for spread of digital literacy competent enough to safeguard their learners from threats? Interesting project in this respect is e-Guardian project (Lithuania) endorsed by ECDL:
The main aim of e-Guardian is to educate broad scope of audience about how to safeguard themselves from threats on the Internet and how to become competent e-citizens instead of scaring them using computers and Internet.

7 users have voted.
Giulia Bubbolini's picture

DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion just released a study Adult Learners in Digital Learning Environments (EAC-2013-0563).

The study aimed to contribute to the work of the Commission and Member States in achieving the objectives set out in the Education and Training 2020 Strategy (ET 2020), which aims (inter alia) to raise the currently largely static rates of adult participation in learning towards the ET 2020 target of 15%, thus contributing to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

There are 16 overall conclusions from the Study.

For learners:

  • Basic skills. Literacy, numeracy and ICT skills are fundamental enablers for adult learners. PIAAC 2012 statistics report that about 20% of adults in the EU have low literacy and numeracy skills, and 25% have low ICT skills;
  • Adult learning can benefit significantly from access to adult learning resources made available using ICT tools (Internet, software, content and devices), and with well-focused learning content;
  • Individualisation of learning is beneficial. Digitally delivered learning has the potential to individualise learning.

For providers and educators:

  • Educators need digital and pedagogic skills. Adult educators need to be provided with training in the effective use of ICTs and OER, and to be fully involved in the design of programmes;
  • Benefits of adult learning are not effectively communicated and understood. Communicating the particular benefits of ICT-enabled learning can better motivate adults to learn, and to help adults and businesses understand the rewards and benefits of adult learning;
  • Learning providers and organisations need appropriate organisational and support structures to enable educators to use ICTs and OER effectively in the development of adult learning;
  • Learning providers and organisations need better sustainable institutional strategies for the use of ICTs and OER in the development of adult learning;
  • Learning providers need more extensive networking, the sharing of good practice and partnerships to create targeted and high-quality ICT-enabled learning content for their adult learners.

For policy initiatives:

  • ICTs, especially mobile ICTs, can be used to access learning at any time;
  • Access to ICT infrastructure is not adequately ensured for all learners;
  • Vulnerable adults need particular support. For example those who have low basic skills, including ICT-skills, low levels of formal qualifications, or are otherwise marginalised;
  • Awareness needs raising further about the availability of ICT-enabled adult learning resources. Coherent and pan-European information and resources about adult learning can help;
  • Benefits of flexible and personalised ICT-enabled learning can be enhanced through transparency and recognition tools. Adult learners can be motivated to learn through providing the conditions to validate and recognise learning obtained from multiple online learning resources;
  • Licensing and copyright conditions can be further developed to open up access to digital education resources (OER) and enable their effective use in adult learning;
  • Policy can be well-informed by continuing to develop a pan-European evidence base to monitor and analyse developments in ICT-enhanced adult learning;
  • There are variations across Member States in the levels of participation in adult learning, and the extent of ICT and OER developments for adult learning. The broad clusters that were identified show a wide range of adult learning developments using ICTs and OER.
0 users have voted.
Group managers
Jessica May HUNTINGFORD Resolvo Srl Head of European Projects
Giulia BUBBOLINI CISE - Centre for Innovation and Economic Development General Project Manager and International Relations
Group Participants