The Digital Competence Framework 2.2 (DigComp)- Recap of WEEK 3 Launch Event (28 March 2022)

Recap WEEK 3 – Launch Event “The Digital Competence Framework 2.2 (DigComp)”

Peter Palvolgyi, ALL DIGITAL CEO, opened the launch event Week 3 of the ALL DIGITAL Weeks campaign, dedicated to the promotion of the Digital Competence Framework (DigComp), and stressing how this webinar was one the very first opportunities to present the recent update of the digital framework (DigComp 2.2), which was also supported by the DigComp Community of Practice. He also presented the overall raising awareness campaign and the events of the week 3, in particular, the initiatives and projects implementing the DigComp framework carried out in Hungary by the Hungarian Digital Success Program.

Ana Carrero, Deputy Head of Unit – Vocational Education and Training at DG Employment highlighted the contribution of DG EMPL supporting the Joint Research Center (JRC) which led the DigComp Framework update, as well the fact that everybody is aware that the digital transition will have a marked impact on the labour market and on skills: ‘’Over 90% of the jobs already require some level of digital skills, in the collaborative economy and dealing with robotization or AI services. The pandemic has accelerated this trend in all sectors. So as a result, some jobs will disappear, some tasks of jobs will change. But also, the transition will also bring new job opportunities. However, to seize these opportunities, it is imperative that all workers and learners are equipped with the necessary skills.’’

She then listed some worrying data related to digital competences: ‘’We are already facing labour shortages and unfilled vacancies in Europe and in 2019, more than a third of the EU population still had an insufficient level of digital skills. In terms of ICT specialist employed, we only have 7.8 million now, and only one out of six are women. And as regards young people, they do not naturally become digitally competent because they are born in a digital world: when eighth graders were last tested, we found out that 1/3 of them did not reach the basic digital skills threshold.’’

However, she also mentioned ambitious goals set by the European Commission: ‘’We need to do more together and EU level we have set targets in terms of digital skills: to have 80% of adults having at least basic digital skills in 2030, 20 million ICT Professionals employed by 2030 with balanced representation between men and women, and these complemented by other targets for young people to achieve the European Education Area.’’ She made clear in her speech the need to ensure that education and training provide equal opportunities for all, and also the need to pay attention to children in vulnerable situations, low skill adults and people with disabilities among other disadvantaged groups, stressing that ‘’we need education and training systems provide the digital skills that young people need from a very early age, and public and private stakeholders to work together to upskill and reskill the workforce to meet these targets. ‘’

The Skills Agenda and the Digital Education Action Plan set concrete measures to help achieving the targets, including the present update of the DigComp, which is action n.8 of the Digital Education Action Plan. DigComp has already provided a common understanding across the EU of what digital competences are, and therefore provided a basis for framing digital skills policy in many member states and regions in Europe, for curricular development and for assessment of digital competencies in an education or labour market context. Even organizations like UNESCO, are using the DigComp in other countries. She explained “we need a DigComp update now because since its last update in 2016 new technologies like AI, data application, or phenomena like misinformation and disinformation emerged. The present update takes account of knowledge, skills and attitudes needed by the citizens to face these developments. It also takes account of the green and sustainability aspects that interact with the digital technologies.’’

She ended her speech encouraging education and training providers, public employment services, some other public institutions to use this practical tool and integrate it in their processes of setting their digital skills, policies for assessment adaptation of curricula validation.

Riina Vuorikari, Research Fellow and Lead for DigComp 2.2, JRC, European Commission, began her speech mentioning the importance of the day, showed the timeline of work to update the DigComp 2.2 and its publication last week, as well the goal of the presentation: discuss the rollout and the use. She stressed how the DigComp update was part of an open process of co-creation and thanked everybody who was involved in it from working group leaders to contributors (more than 100 contributors).

She then walked the audience through the update, asking the never-ending question: what does it really mean to be digitally competent today? In Europe there are the Council Recommendation that defined DigComp: ‘’Digital competence involves confident, critical, and responsible use and engagement with digital technologies for learning at work and for participation in society.’’ She also added that ‘’Importantly, competence is composed of three different elements, skills, knowing how to do something, knowledge, also the background load, maybe more theoretical knowledge, and attitude, which is the open critical attitude towards new technologies.’’

The DigComp framework update is part of the Digital Education Action Plan. The DigComp update gives 250 examples of knowledge, skills, and attitude, and this is to really help education and training providers to update their curriculum and course materials, so that they can face today’s challenges.

The key themes: 1) Fact-checking online content and its sources, as key part of media education and information literacy; 2) Remote working as COVID gave huge new context for digital competence for companies, and these competences must be used as part of our work; 3) Digital accessibility and making DigComp available in a screen readable format; 4) Green and sustainability aspects, when we are interacting with digital technologies, it has become important to take the double green/digital transition into account; 5) Well-being and safety, especially about the personal data that is being gathered by new technologies that we use nowadays; 6) Citizens interacting with AI systems (a special appendix with 73 examples).

She then went through a full list of skills, knowledge, and attitude examples, and provided examples from the resources section, including self-reflection and self-assessments tool; implementation guides and information on translations; the relationships and connections between different frameworks, such as LifeComp, and EntreComp. Presenting the report, she also listed the annex, which includes the methodology underlying the DigComp framework, how it has been developed, when and how was the process from the very first 1.0 to today’s version.

The JRC Research Fellow lastly answered to questions on the possibility to translate the DigComp 2.2, to adopt a Wiki style space to include new examples, the members contribution to a further update of the DigComp, the potential complementary nature with other Frameworks (such as the UNESCO) or the idea to dedicate selected skills to particular age groups (i.e. elderly people aged 80 years+).

The webinar was wrapped up by ALL DIGITAL Policy Officer, Norman Rohner, the co-moderator of the DigComp Community of Practice who concluded the event addressing the audience as follow: ‘’just because the update to version 2.2 is now done, it doesn’t mean that the work on DigComp stops here. The Committee of Practice is going to follow upon as new updates are going to emerge. For now, we’re planning to have an event series, short webinars on specific topics of the updates throughout the year, where we’re going to present in more details the different updated topics, what they change, what they bring to the table, and possibly also what can be looked forward to in the future for them such as what are other areas that are missing? So, we invite everyone to join the Community of Practice!