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1) a database of digital competence frameworks. This database provides a global reference point for information on how digital competencies are being defined for citizens, learners and educators through the use of competence frameworks. The content is relevant to all types of UNEVOC Network members (national and international policy-makers, researchers and practitioners)
2) links to articles and think-pieces discussing the many implications of changing digital skills needs on TVET provision:
This database was established as a global ‘reference point’ for information on how digital competencies are being defined for citizens, learners and educators through the use of digital competence frameworks. The content is targeted to all types of UNEVOC Network members (national and international TVET policy-makers, researchers and practitioners - especially those engaged in national TVET teacher training). It aims to promote international discussion in topics related to digital competencies for TVET teachers, trainers and learners and to assist those wanting to design, implement, improve, and/or cooperate on their digital competence frameworks.
2. How were the DCFs identified and selected for inclusion in the database?
The DCFs included in the database have been identified following a systematic and informed process. The first stage was to perform a literature review to identify relevant digital skills/competence frameworks. A working definition of a ‘digital skills/competency framework’ was established and then key words associated with the definition identified to inform what should be included and excluded. Using these keywords, a review of the following electronic databases was undertaken: Web of Science, Scopus, ERIC and Education Search Complete, the TVET Country Profiles database and the Innovative and Promising Practices in TVET database.
DCFs identified were then sorted, coded and recorded in tabular form according to a set of criteria relevant to design, content and use of the DCFs. Feedback from experts on the initial coding terms was obtained, with adjustments made. The information regarding each DCF was then further analysed and edited for inclusion in the database.
3. Which organizations/government bodies are creating DCFs?
DCFs in the database have been developed by a diverse range of national governments, regional governments, government agencies, inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and foundations, and private sector companies. Looking at the DCFs in the UNESCO-UNEVOC online reference point reveals the range of actors who produce DCFs. Of the DCFs in the reference point: 8 are produced by national governments/national government agencies, 2 by regional governments, 7 by international inter-governmental agencies and 9 by private sector organizations. The governments include those of Australia, India, Indonesia, Norway, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The two inter-governmental organizations represented are UNESCO and the European Commission, who are both involved in work on more than one DCF.
4. Are there some common reasons for establishing DCFs?
DFCs are commonly developed in response to Industrial Revolution 4.0, with the massive increase in digitalization worldwide across all spheres of social and economic life as the 21st century unfolds. This increase in digitization implies that individuals throughout society have to be able to use digital tools and applications, and so require skills across a range of levels. Societies must support their citizens’ development of appropriate skills. DCFs have been developed as a way of identifying, codifying and systematizing digital skills and their levels. They are produced to bring together in a common system skills, knowledge, and attitudes which constitute digital competence.
However, as outlined, DCFs have been developed by a diverse range of organizations. Hence, while the different types of organizations who establish DCFs do so to support professionals or citizens to be able to better cope with the professional and personal demands placed on them by the proliferation of digital technology, they also have their own specific reasons as well. In the case of some of the DCFs developed by national governments, they have been produced to support or link with broader policy initiatives related to digital skills/engagement for example.
5. To what extent are DCFs specific to TVET or make specific reference to TVET?
Of the DCFs included, only one is specific to TVET: the Digital Teaching Professional Framework which has been developed by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) in the United Kingdom (UK). The ETF is the workforce development body for teachers and trainers in the TVET sector in the UK funded by the Department of Education.
Target groups differ by individual framework but include educators, citizens, learners and policy-makers. A common characteristic of all the frameworks is that they are designed to include those who are engaged in as wide a range of subject disciplines as possible and are generic in nature (they are less accessible for all social groups as is discussed in question 10). Hence, even though the majority of frameworks do not focus specifically on TVET or make reference to TVET, they are relevant to policy-makers and educators in the TVET field or students on TVET courses. However, while they are relevant to those working or learning in TVET subject areas, there may still be a need for specific DCFs focused on TVET subject areas/occupational fields. Some such DCFs do exist and as the UNESCO-UNEVOC online reference point expands, it will look to include these frameworks as well.
6. What is the relationship between the DCFs in the database and broader policy and practice in digital skills and TVET?
For the majority of the DCFs in the repository, there is some evidence of linkages with broader policy and practices related to digital skills and/or TVET. These linkages differ across the frameworks. In some cases, the DCF sits within a broader programme or framework related to the development of digital or wider skills. For example, the Foundation for your Future Digital Literacy Skills Framework has been developed to support the 'Foundation Skills for your Future Commonwealth Government Programme 2019'. This programme offers subsidized training for individuals to identify language, literacy, numeracy and digital (LLND) skill needs and enables eligible participants to access either accredited or non-accredited training either in a traditional vocational education and training (VET) or workplace setting. The Digital Skills Competency Framework produced by the Welsh government is part of a set of cross-curricular skills frameworks which underpin the Curriculum for Wales alongside literacy and numeracy. While in South Africa the Professional Development Framework for Digital Learning, aimed at teacher trainers, school leaders and teachers, e-learning specialists and curriculum subject specialists, is aligned with the Department of Basic Education’s strategic plan that encompasses all forms of training.
It would be expected that frameworks which are national, or produced by a region within a country, would have a link to broader polices given that they are produced by administrative bodies. The picture is more varied for those produced by international and non-governmental bodies or commercial enterprises/foundations. The latter are less connected to actual policies although they do attempt to nest themselves within the broader challenges facing nations and their citizens. The framework developed by the McKinsey Global Institute for example, is informed by a survey of 18,000 people in 15 countries in 2019. This research alongside academic research and McKinsey’s experience in adult training was used to identify a set of 56 foundational skills that will benefit all citizens across countries. Frameworks developed by international bodies, specifically UNESCO and the European Commission, are connected explicitly to the broader policy imperatives of these organizations. UNESCO for example has done work on DCFs related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the European Commission’s DigComp 2.2. is designed to help in reaching the European Union’s policy targets of a minimum of 80% of the population of member states with basic digital skills and 20 million ICT specialists by 2030.
7. How is digital competence defined in the construction of the DCFs?
Across the different DCFs, several terms are used to describe what is meant by digital competence and the term is used inter-changeably at times with digital literacy, digital knowledge, and digital attitudes. Hence, while similar terms are used to define digital competence, there is no one uniform definition adopted.
Given the range of organizations who have produced the DCFs and the differing levels of detail that the DCFs embody this is not surprising. Looking at the DCFs in the database overall though, it is clear that digital competence is a multi-faceted concept that is context dependent. It involves technical skills as well as the ability to engage critically with the different facets of the digital world. This is evident in the definition used by the European Commission in the DigComp 2.2 DCF for example:
‘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, media literacy, digital content creation (including programming), safety (including digital well-being and competences related to cybersecurity), intellectual property related questions, problem solving and critical thinking.’
This definition from DigComp 2.2 is a detailed and nuanced one which captures well the competencies citizens need to be able to engage in society in a digital sense in the early 21st century. However, DigComp 2.2. itself must be see in context. It is one of the most detailed and thorough DCFs in the database designed to support the developments of competencies across a whole continent. Many of the DCFs do not actually provide a specific definition of digital competence. Rather, what digital competence means is embodied in the areas of competency/thematic areas which make up the DCF.
8. To what extent do the DCFs in the database disaggregate digital competence by dimensions and levels of proficiency?
Every DCF in the database disaggregates digital competency to some extent. The majority of DCFs disaggregate competency by outlining 4-5 dimensions/thematic areas. For example, DigComp 2.2., which is produced by the European Commission and aimed at citizens, has 5 dimensions: Information and data literacy; Communication and collaboration; Digital content creation; Safety; and Problem solving. These dimensions are then sub-divided into a larger number of competencies. In the case of DigComp 2.2, there are 21 such competencies. This structure – where dimensions or thematic areas are identified and then divided into a larger number of competencies – is a common one characterizing over 70% of the DCFs in the database. The number of dimensions differs between 4 and 7 with competencies ranging from under 10 to over 30.
In terms of proficiency, around 60% of the frameworks are disaggregated into different levels of proficiency. The number of levels ranges from 3 to 6. How such levels of proficiency are described is specific to each framework.
9. Are there provisions within DCFs for specific regions/hard-to-reach groups?
The majority (52%) of DCFs do include some reference to accessibility and inclusion for those from lower socio-economic groups, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities or those from rural locations. However, these references are not very detailed and while some DCFs do include some specific sections, recognizing the existence of divisions in access to digital technology such sections are brief. As outlined in the article which can be found on the DCF repository site, challenges in access to digital technology by certain groups are multi-faceted and common across the world. As DCFs continue to develop, if they are to maximise their impact across societies, it is vital that they build into their design and delivery a greater understanding of these differences in access to digital technology that exist.
10. What are UNEVOC’s plans for this database?
This database was established in 2022. For 2023, plans include expanding the database to cover national and regional digital skills strategies and occupational digital competence frameworks. Further articles and think-pieces will be prepared picking up on specific issues related to digitalization.
|Framework title||Description||Origin||Target group/s||Publisher, Year|
|British Columbia’s Digital Literacy Framework||The framework provides a clear, and detailed sense of what digitally literate students should understand and be able to do at various levels of their development. The aim is to help educators integrate technology and digital literacy-related activities into their classroom practice and to provide some basis for the development of assessment tools for the digital literacy competencies.||British Columbia, Canada||Teachers/trainers||Province of British Columbia, 2013|
|Common Digital Competence Framework for Teachers (CDCFT)||This a reference framework for the diagnosis and improvement of the digital competencies for teachers. These competencies are defined as those teachers need to develop in the 21st century to improve their teaching practice and for their continuous professional development. It is based on EU's DigComp 2.1 and DigCompEdu.||Spain||Teachers/trainers||National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training (Spain), 2017|
|Common Framework of Reference for Intercultural Digital Literacies (CFRIDiL)||This framework aims to standardise digital skills by promoting transparency and recognition for the evaluation of what one should know to be a successful communicator in transnational digital environments. The framework was developed through an ERASMUS+ funded project between 2016-19.||European Union||Teachers/trainers; Learners; Citizens; Non-governmental organisations; Researchers||EUMade4LL, Erasmus+ (funded by the European Commission), 2019|
|DQ (Digital Intelligence) Global Standard on Digital Literacy, Digital Skills and Digital Readiness||The framework is based on the DQ concept of 'Digital Intelligence'defined as 'a comprehensive set of technical, meta-cognitive, and socio-emotional competencies that are grounded in universal moral values and that enable individuals to face the challenges and harness the opportunities of digital life.'||DQ Institute||Citizens; Non-governmental organisations; Teachers/trainers; Policy makers||DQ Institute, Global, 2019|
|Defining the skills citizens will need in the future world of work||This framework aims to define the skills citizens will need in the future world of work. The skills are defined by three criteria regardless of economic sector and/or occupation within which people work i.e. 1) to add value beyond what can be done by automated systems and intelligent machines; 2) operate in a digital environment; 3) continually adapt to new ways of working and new occupations.||McKinsey||Citizens; Teachers/trainers; Non-governmental organisations; Labour market partners (employers and unions)||McKinsey & Company, Global, 2019|
|DigComp 2.2||DigComp is a descriptive, enabling framework designed to support the development of digital competence of individuals personally and professionally.||European Union||Policy makers; Teachers/trainers; Labour market partners (employers and unions)||Publications Office of the European Union, 2022|
|DigCompEdu||DigCompEdu is designed to aid teachers and education stakeholders develop their digital competence models across all levels of education. It provides a common European Framework to develop the digital competence of educators.||European Union||Teachers/trainers||Publications Office of the European Union, 2017|
|Digischool: the Digital Literacy Programme||The aim of this programme is to impart the required competencies for the 21st century economy in Kenya.||Kenya||Policy makers||UNESCO, 2018|
|Digital Competence Framework||This is part of the cross-curricular skills framework developed by the Welsh government.||Wales, United Kingdom||Teachers/trainers||Education Wales (Welsh government, United Kingdom), 2022|
|Digital Literacy Global Framework (DLGF)||The objective of the DLGF is to develop a methodology to measure the Sustainable Development Goal 4 indicator 4.4.2 (percentage of youth/adults who have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in digital literacy skills).||Global||Policy makers; Researchers; Teachers/trainers||UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2018|
|Digital Literacy Skills Framework (DLSF)||This framework has been developed to support the 'Foundation Skills for your Future Commonwealth Government Program 2019'. This program offers subsidised training to support individuals to identify language, literacy, numeracy and digital (LLND) skill needs and enables eligible participants to access either accredited or non-accredited training either in a traditional vocational education and training (VET) or workplace setting.||Australia||Citizens; Non-governmental organisations||Australian Department for Education, Skills and Employment, 2021|
|Digital Teaching Professional Framework||The aim of this framework is to enable TVET providers and their teachers and trainers working in the Further Education sector (which includes TVET) to identify the training needs to help develop their teaching and training practice. The framework has bite-sized training courses mapped to it which can be pursued online and are certified with the award of a digital badge.||England, United Kingdom||Teachers/trainers; Training providers; Curriculum Developers||Education and Training Foundation, England, United Kingdom|
|ETF READY Model||The European Training Foundation's READY model (Reference model for Educators' Activities and Development in the 21st centurY) offers a structured way to identify the professional practices and development needs of the 21st century educators.||European Training Foundation||Teachers/trainers; Training providers; Curriculum Developers||European Training Foundation, 2022|
|IC3 Digital Literacy||IC3 Digital Literacy, by Certiport, is a starting point for learners who need to establish a foundational skill set of digital competencies.||North America||Citizens; Non-governmental organisations; Training providers; Curriculum Developers; Labour market partners (employers and unions)||Certiport, 2022|
|Indonesian National Digital Literacy Framework||The framework is part of a national movement 'SiBerkreasi' to overcome the threat of the biggest potential dangers faced by Indonesia, namely the spread of negative content through the internet such as hoaxes, cyberbullying and online radicalism.||Indonesia||Citizens; Non-governmental organisations||Bahasa, Indonesia, 2021|
|International Computer Driving License (ICDL)||The International Computer Driving License has been developed by the ICDL Foundation. ICDL aims to raise digital competence standards in the workforce, education and society.||ICDL||Learners; Teachers/trainers; IT Professionals; Citizens; Non-governmental organisations||ICDL Global, 2000|
|Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum||Microsoft Digital Literacy is for anyone with basic reading skills who wants to learn the fundamentals of using digital technologies.||Microsofttt||Citizens; Non-governmental organisations; Training providers; Curriculum Developers; Labour market partners (employers and unions)||Microsoft, 2022|
|National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) Scheme||The National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) Scheme has been formulated by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India to impart IT training including in rural areas. Eligible households can nominate one person from their family and the selected person gets enrolled under this programme in a nearest training centre.||India||Citizens; Non-governmental organisations||Government of India, 2015|
|Professional Development Framework for Digital Learning||This framework provides guidelines for the professional development of educators. The main aim of the framework is to: define professional development for digital learning in an education system that seeks to improve access, quality, equity, redress and efficiency.||South Africa||Teachers/trainers||Department of Basic Education, South Africa, 2019|
|Professional Digital Competence Framework for Teachers||The framework is a guidance document to improve the quality of teacher education and continuing professional development of teachers. The purpose of the framework is to establish a common conceptual framework and frame of reference for what teachers' professional competence entails. It specifies two aims: one centres on professional development, the other around the actual practice of the profession.||Norway||Teachers/trainers||Norwegian Centre for ICT in education, 2017|
|Quebec Digital Competency Framework||The aim of this framework is to foster the development of digital competency throughout the educational community so that Quebecers may be autonomous and exercise critical judgment in their use of digital technologies. The framework sets out the key dimensions of learning and personal development for learners as well as teachers and non-teaching professionals.||Quebec, Canada||Citizens; Non-governmental organisations; Teachers/trainers; Training providers; Curriculum Developers||Ministy of Education and Higher Education, Quebec, Canada, 2019|
|SELFIE for Teachers||SELFIE for Teachers is an online, interactive tool to allow teachers to get feedback on how they use digital technology in their work.||European Union||Teachers/trainers||European Commission, 2021|
|Skilling the Australian Workforce for the Digital Economy - The Australian Workforce Digital Skills Framework||This framework has been developed as part of a wider project which aims to capture the current digital skills requirements of the Australian workforce, the capacity of the vocational education and training (VET) system to effectively meet the growing need for digital skills across the workforce, and employers’ views, strategies and commitment to adopting digital technologies and meeting the associated digital skills needs of their workforces.||Australia||Government; Labour market partners (employees and unions)||NCVER, 2019|
|Skills Framework for International Age (SFIA - 8)||SFIA defines the skills and competencies required by professionals who design, implement, manage and protect the data and technology that power the digital world. The framework is created and managed by the SFIA Foundation which is a global not-for-profit organisation which oversees the production and use of the Skills Framework for the Information Age.||SFIA||IT Professionals|
|SFIA Foundation, 2000|
|SkillsFuture - Skills Framework for Infocomm Technology||The Skills Framework is an initiative developed by the Government of Singapore to promote skills mastery and lifelong learning. It provides useful information on: sector information; career pathways; occupations and job roles; existing and emerging skils; and training programmes for skills upgrading and mastery.||Singapore||Citizens; Non-governmental organisations; Training providers; Curriculum Developers; IT Professionals; Labour market partners (employers and unions)||Government of Singapore, 2022|
|The Global Framework for Educational Competence in the Digital Age||This is an international digital competency framework for educators. The framework is structured sround 3 'identities' a teacher may have i.e. citizen, teacher and connector. The framework goes on to define the competences needed to realise these 3 identities.||Profutoro||Teachers/trainers||Profuturo, 2020|
|The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for students||ISTE standards are defined for students, educators and education leaders as well as for coaches and for computational thinking. The student section is designed to empower students in the classroom. The educators' section is designed to deepen practice, promote collaboration with peers, challenge a rethink of traditional approaches and to prepare students to drive their own learning. The educator leaders' section is designed to support the knowledge and behaviours required for leaders to empower teachers and make student learning possible.||ISTE||Teachers/trainers; Learners; Training providers; Curriculum Developers; Policy makers||ISTE, Global, 2018|
|UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT CFT) Version 3||The UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT-CFT) assists countries to develop comprehensive national teacher ICT competency policies and standards and to implement these in education plans. It is in its 3rd iteration, the latest from 2018. It has been developed in cooperation with ISTE, CISCO, Intel and Microsoft.||UNESCO||Teachers/trainers, Policy makers; Researchers, Training providers; Curriculum Developers||UNESCO, 2018|
|USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools||The USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE framework provides a road map for teaching the necessary skills in Canadian schools, to enable young students to be able to critically, effectively and responsibly access, use, understand and engage with media of all kinds.||Canada||Teachers/trainers||Mediasmarts, 2022|
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