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Digcomp a reference framework that describes what it means to be digitally competent

NEWS | Digcomp a reference framework that describes what it means to be digitally competent

Under the current circumstances du to COVID-19 crisis, digital spaces and skills are becoming a need, not only in the way of accessing information and services, but also in one of the only remaining tools for work, education and leisure. However, not everyone share the same knowledge or resources in terms of networks, connected devices, or skills required. Digital inequalities already exist, but the COVID crisis is exacerbating them.

From a technological view, COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive, immediate and unprecedented changes in the use of digital devices. Internet access and use prior to COVID-19 was not necessarily a priority. However, due to the global isolation where all physical interaction is broken, digital competences become essential. Currently, dependence on technology is total and digital skills, become fundamental to face this new reality.

DigComp was first published in 2013, as a reference framework to support the development of digital competence of individuals in Europe. It describes which competences are needed today to use digital technologies in a confident, critical, collaborative and creative way to achieve goals related to work, learning, leisure, inclusion and participation in our digital society. Therefore, this programme is crucial in COVID-19 environment.

DigComp can be used across sectors, disciplines and systems to enable people to develop digital competence. That framework defines the scope and the components of digital competence for citizens in a clear way. It provides an overall, complete and shared understanding of what digital competence is, and offers an updated vocabulary based on consensus building with multiple stakeholders.

DigComp is used to design training measures for the trainers who must develop digital competence, as well as teaching and learning experiences for the end users in a target population.

DigComp introduces the idea that people, even beyond those in IT occupations, should learn to use technologies. The new notion of digital competence challenges teachers, trainers and educators to adopt new approaches to develop this competence, and also students. DigComp helps to identify what to teach / learn.

The wider use of digital technology in education and training and the emerging trend towards embedding digital competence in the disciplinary curriculum are a new challenge to all teachers. Rather than only IT teachers as in the past, teachers from any discipline are increasingly expected to contribute to the development of their students’ digital competence. Several upskilling and professional development programmes on digital competence for teachers based on DigComp have been developed and delivered in the formal education and training domain to help them meet these challenges.

  • Competences areas of DigComp

In DigComp, the competence areas 1, 2 and 3 deal with competences that can be retraced in terms of specific activities and uses. Competence areas 4 and 5 are cross-cutting/horizontal areas as they apply to any type of activity carried out through digital means. Problem solving elements, in particular, are present in all competence areas, but a specific area was defined to highlight the importance of this aspect for the appropriation of technology and digital practices.

They are summarized in the table below: