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Being digitally competent – a task for the 21st century citizen

Digital competence involves the confident, critical and responsible use of, and engagement with, digital technologies for learning, at work, and for participation in society. It includes information and data literacy, communication and collaboration, digital content creation (including programming), safety (including digital well-being and competences related to cybersecurity), and problem solving. Annex to the Proposal for a Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning {SWD(2018) 14 final}

The European Digital Competence Framework for Citizens, also known as DigComp, offers a tool to improve citizen's digital competence. Today, being digitally competent means that people need to have competences in each of the above-mentioned five areas.

DigComp 2.0 presents the DigComp conceptual reference model and DigComp 2.1 its eight levels and examples of use. Take a look at the new infographic explaining the 8 proficiency levels using a metaphor of "Learning to swim in the digital ocean"

What can DigComp do for citizens?

The Digital Competence Framework can help citizens with self-evaluation, setting learning goals, identifying training opportunities and facilitating job search.

Self-evaluate the level of digital competence and facilitate the job search

From summer 2015 onwards, the Europass CV includes an online tool for jobseekers to self-evaluate their digital competence and describe and include it in their Curriculum Vitale (CV). The tool uses the five areas of the DigComp framework with an easy to use self-evaluation form. See also news about the New Europass Framework.

Set learning goals and identify training opportunities

In 2014, the Basque Country in Spain created a free online Self Diagnosis Tool for testing one's level of digital competence based on the DigComp framework. After taking a 15-minute online test, the results are available in a simple format to evaluate one's skills and identify training opportunities. Mid 2015, more than 10 000 individuals have already taken the test. Currently, the EU is planning to implement a similar tool which will eventually be available for all citizens in their own languages.

What can DigComp do for policymakers?

The Digital Competence Framework can help to monitor citizen's digital skills and to support curricula development.

For policymakers it can be beneficial to know where citizens stand for digital competence at the country level. The EU-wide Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) offers an indicator for Digital Skills that uses the DigComp framework.

The "digital skills" indicator is one part of the many indicators to measure Human Capital which is needed to take advantage of the possibilities offered by a digital society. The Digital Agenda Scoreboard offers an online tool to view the data in an interactive way (opens a new window, please allow time for the download).

Graph showing individuals with basic or above basic digital skills per EU Member State

The DigComp framework can be used to plan and design education and training offers. For example, the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports has adapted DigComp for Spanish teachers and it has been used as a strategic support document for further development of teacher professional development (Marco comun de Competencia Digital Docente 2.0). Other similar examples can be found under implementation.

Guideline on the Adoption of DigComp

A new guideline to help with the uptake of the Digital Competence Framework for Citizens has been published by Telecentre Europe, a non-for-profit organisation that believes that ICT has a great potential to combat social exclusion and poverty.