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An Online Testing Tool That Maps Digital Competences
2023 Center for Digital Dannelse
What you get out of your personal competence wheel
See example of individual test result
Personal Competence Wheel
16 digital competences are analysed in your personal competence wheel
3 recommended areas that will strengthen your digital competences
50 examples of different aspects of digital competence
184 exercises and motivational examples
About the Digital Competence Wheel
The purpose of the Digital Competence Wheel is to provide an overview of which digital competences exist and should be improved, as well as concrete inspiration for how to improve the most relevant digital competences.
The Digital Competence Wheel has been developed by the Center for Digital Dannelse, who has been engaged in digitalisation and digital education since 2009.
The Digital Competence Wheel is theoretically based on a major EU research project, DIGCOMP, deriving from the European Parliament’s inclusion of digital competence, as one of the eight core competences for lifelong learning.
Take full advantage of the competence wheel
A subscription gives the individual manager a quick and easy opportunity to get an overview of the organisation's or department's total digital competence level and at the same time gain access to the individual employee's result. It opens up new opportunities for targeting and differentiating digital competence development, as well as following the employees' development process over time.
Customise the competence wheel
Add, remove, or edit competences in the competence wheel so that the wheel is tailored to the relevant digital competences in your organisation.
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Add, remove or edit the wording and examples of the questions in the survey to fit 100% to your employees’ context and job function.
Create Analysis (Reports)
Get an overview, no matter how many people you work with. You can include as many people as you like and compare their competences across the board.
Create a common dialogue
The Competence Wheel is an engaging and dialogue-creating tool for employees, and can be used as a conversation tool, in plenary and in groups, on a wide range of digital topics.
Differentiated competence development
As a leader you have access to all the employees' individual competence wheels, so the work with digital competences is based on the employees’ real needs, capabilities and interest.
Evaluate The Effect
Follow the organisation's development and evaluate the impact of the initiatives you have taken. Did we improve? Where is the biggest improvement? What’s the next action?
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By Anders Skov, internet sociologist, 2016 Center for Digital Dannelse. Published online March 2016
The concept of digital competence has emerged concurrently with technological development and as society has recognised the need for new competences. Development of technologies enables and constantly creates new activities and goals, and the importance of digital competence is therefore constantly changing and must always be seen in relation to the current technology and its application.
More than instrumental skills
European and Danish measurements are currently concentrating more on measuring access and consumption than real digital competence (i.e. measuring quality, attitudes and strategies for the use of technology). But managing basic digital tools and online platforms is just the first step towards advanced digital skills. Development of digital competences should be regarded as a continuation from instrumental skills towards more productive, communicative, critical and strategic competences.
Digital competence is a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes with regards to the use of technology to perform tasks, solve problems, communicate, manage information, collaborate, as well as to create and share content effectively, appropriately, securely, critically, creatively, independently and ethically.
More than High Consumption
Although the use of computers, mobiles and the internet is increasing among almost all groups of people, it does not necessarily mean that they develop skills and can benefit from it in the many different aspects of life. Research has shown that large amounts of computer, mobile and internet use only contribute to digital skills at the operational level. The higher cognitive ability for critical search and selection of information is not a consequence of greater consumption. Users can simply stay on the same level and only use some specific applications. Therefore, high consumption of technology as such should not be regarded as proof of digital competence (Van Deursen, 2010).
With this understanding in mind, one of the best definitions and least vulnerable to the test of time has been drawn up by a major EU research project, after digital competence was recognised by the European Commission as one of eight key core competences for lifelong learning. The Digital Competence Wheel's theoretical basis is the research and empiri that this definition is based on.
The following describes some of the methodological and theoretical considerations made when mapping the digital competences of the Digital Competence Wheel.
The understanding of the concept of digital competence is so varied that there is no common or globally accepted definition. The same has happened and happens to virtually all concepts in relation to digital tools and processes. This is caused, among other things, by the constant and rapid development of technologies that enable and create new activities and goals. Examples include IT literacy, digital literacy, media literacy, information literacy, internet literacy, etc. They have emerged concurrently with technological development and as society recognised the need for new competences.
The fact that there are so many and varied definitions of the term reflects its importance. Common to all of them is that it is no longer about access to and use of technology, but the ability to take advantage of it in meaningful ways - for life, work and learning.
There are two main approaches in this bewildering amount of terms and definitions: A) Through a high conceptual level, describing topics on an abstract level which is therefore more immune to technological change. B) To recognise the specific knowledge, skills and competences that are important for the overall purpose: to identify the specific essential knowledge, skills and attitudes that can serve to assess people's capacity at the designated area and initiate targeted learning. We have chosen the latter approach with the Digital Competence Wheel, as it methodically supports this purpose. However, this approach, by nature, is more dependent on the current digital tools and possible activities and therefore requires regular revision.
In order to map digital competence, it is necessary to go deeper into what building blocks the concept consists of. It is argued that digital competence is more than the ability to use a digital platform in practice.
Instead, digital competence should be understood as the ability to combine the knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the context. Digital competence is therefore divided into the following domains: 1) Instrumental skills for using digital tools and media. 2) Knowledge, theories and principles related to technology. 3) Attitudes towards strategic use, openness, critical understanding, creativity, accountability and independence. These three dimensions are called the learning domains.
The point in this three-legged division of the digital competence is to highlight the fact that strong digital competences are not created organically simply because of a high consumption of digital technologies. For example, a study showed that 19.5% of respondents had chosen not to go to the doctor while 7.9% had chosen not to follow the doctor's advice, both because of information found on the internet (Ala-Mutka, 2008). The respondents have knowledge of how to find such resources, as well as the necessary skills to search and locate information through a web browser. On the other hand, they lack the critical understanding (read attitude) of the content they find.
Knowledge is the result of assimilated information obtained through learning. Knowledge is a collection of facts, theories, principles and traditions related to a job or study. Knowledge can best be described as either theoretical or factual.
A skill is the ability to solve a task or problem in practice, while an instrumental skill is the ability to apply a method, a material or a tool.
Attitudes represent ways of thinking and motivations behind actions. Therefore, they have a great influence on people's digital activities. This includes, for example, ethics, values, priorities, accountability, cooperation and autonomy.
The method for strengthening a competence is also dependent on which learning domain first needs a push. For example, knowledge can be improved through teaching or reading a book while skills can be improved by solving a concrete and practical problem or task. Attitudes are the most important and difficult domain to work with, as most people are governed by their attitudes. The process may involve giving up the old habits, strengthening confidence in the management, motivational talks, better explanations, adjustment of expectations in plenary, more involvement in change etc.
The learning domains are mutually dependent on each other. E.g. A change of attitude can result from more knowledge in an area. Likewise, a distinctive interest (read attitude) for a field can lead to a desire for more knowledge about it.
In the industrial society, human life consisted of work (boss, coworkers and subordinates), home (father, mother, children) and associations (companions and opponents). These were separate and clearly divided worlds. In our information society, it is more accurate to talk about spheres of life, because there are many more, and because they overlap. For example, life spheres can be work, home, families, interests, friends and consumption.
The measurable components of digital competence must be wide and varied enough to include the advantages and disadvantages of digital competence across multiple life spheres. Whether it is as an employee, citizen, consumer or for leisure. In a digital context, these life spheres overlap to such an extent that they do not make sense to separate. The instrumental skills and applications can obviously vary between work and leisure, but the basic attitudes, strategies, ethics and knowledge about digital information, communication, production and safety will overlap significantly. At the same time, it means that a digital competence that is learned and used in one life sphere can largely be applied in another. The less good news is that this also applies to bad habits.
Areas That Are Influenced by Digital Competences p>
The measurable building blocks for digital competence must be constructed in the light of the general advantages and disadvantages, across several spheres of life, and include elements from all learning domains. Digital skills can benefit people in different ways. Here are some examples of areas in very different spheres of life that are influenced by digital competences or the lack thereof.
As the use of social networks increase, it is crucial that the users understand that these platforms, without the appropriate settings for personal information and critical understanding, may result in the loss of control of personal data (e.g. data is handed over to third parties for commercial purposes).
IT skills have become a main focus of employment because of the need for IT-competent professionals in all sectors and for almost all types of tasks. Research has shown that workers with internet skills have better access to the job of their dreams and receive better pay. A study showed that 58% believed that digital technologies had helped them find a good job (Van Deursen, 2010).
Publishing personal information online can also expose users to identity theft, harassment, or other unwanted results. In addition to the risks people create for themselves, they may be exposed to various technical risks such as malware or viruses that transmit sensitive information to malicious people (such as passwords for online banking, public logins, etc.).
Publication of personal information creates permanent visible traces, which can affect the labor market later. A study found that about 50% of employers used social media to investigate job candidates, and 35% of them found content that caused them not to hire the candidate (Careerbuilder, 2009). E.g. inappropriate photographs, attitudes, consumption of alcohol, drugs or slander of colleagues.
People can not only harm themselves, but also others. People often expose sensitive information about their friends and colleagues - though mostly for fun (Get Safe Online, 2007). In a workplace it has in many cases led to disciplinary proceedings against the employee (Proofpoint, 2007). People are often ignorant of current norms and laws (Chou et al., 2007).
In schools, cyberbullying is a concern for both students and teachers, and as many as 43% of students have experienced online bullying (Palfrey, Sacco, Boyd, DeBonis & Tatlock, 2008). One study shows that this is assisted by parents, where 21% have published names and pictures of their children that could cause bullying (ConsumerReports.org, 2011). Many parents need better digital skills in order to protect, help and educate their children in the digital world.
Online content affects people's decisions and activities, and it is therefore crucial that people understand the internet as a resource where the validity of information is not necessarily verified. For example, a survey shows that 34% of European internet users had decided not to buy a selected product due to a negative review on a blog (Hargittai, 2009). On the internet, it is the reader and the recipient that are responsible for assessing the reliability and value of information, and it is important that people understand this. Many schools and educational programs have banned the use of Wikipedia as a source, as they believe that students do not have the skills for critical and responsible use.
Digital competence is important for both individuals and organisations to keep pace with developments to increase efficiency and innovate new products and processes. Those who do not have the skills to take advantage of digital media are excluded from the new possibilities offered by the technology. This way, we risk creating a divide (or a digital divide) between the people or organisations who use digital media and those who do not. Digital networks are also important for any entrepreneur, as it is easy to create an online platform for innovative business areas, even if they have a very narrow audience.
Research shows that ICT strengthens traditional forms of social inequality. The economic, social, health, cultural and societal benefits of good digital skills are more accessible to those who already have these benefits and less accessible to the most needy, such as low-skilled, unemployed or elderly without social support (Van Deursen, 2010) . Therefore, initiatives should be taken to promote the development of digital skills for all citizens, regardless of their age, occupation or current use of ICT.
People with strong digital skills can use a wide range of digital platforms for social innovations and initiatives. For example, launching collective initiatives in a local community, initiating a project or helping victims of disasters.
IT skills also have economic implications for the ordinary consumer as they are able to search for lower prices, and buy and sell products and services through different channels.
Digital tools and media also provide a new dimension to lifelong learning. They provide a means of developing innovative learning methods and teaching with student-centered approaches, as well as connecting schools in an organised collaboration.
There are many professional networks where knowledge is developed and exchanged. It helps to provide people with informal learning as part of their personal activities - even when they do not set out to learn (Ala-Mutka, 2010). Through online practice communities, employees and professionals have been given a new and effective means of getting help with tasks and developing knowledge with other professionals around the world.
The digital social platforms also provide a new scene where people can share their personal expressions and interact with an audience. For example, a survey of blogs showed that bloggers used the platform for creative expression (77%), sharing personal experiences (76%) and sharing practical knowledge (64%) (Lenhart & Fox, 2006). People can also show their professional or artistic skills through online portals, thereby developing their professional identity and credibility.
Digital media provides access to many resources where it is possible to access up-to-date information from a wide variety of sources. It provides the opportunity to be better and wider informed about the ongoing events locally and in the rest of the world. These online resources also allow people to express their own concerns and ideas or report and highlight issues.
The emergence of various online networks also provides new support schemes for patients with rare diseases or parents of afflicted children. There is knowledge and resources created by individuals, but also by professionals and sometimes with professional editorial control. Overall, there is much information about health available online. A study found that 83% of adult internet users use online resources to find health information (Fox & Jones, 2009).
Social technologies allow you to identify interesting communities or create new connections based on your interests, values or attitudes. Research has shown that good digital competences can contribute to the social and cultural integration of immigrants and ethnic minorities (Redecker, Hache & Centeno, 2010).
Digital technologies create the opportunity to maintain contact with people we know. The technology supports communication for people who may not otherwise be able to interact socially (e.g. elderly people, remote workers, or family members far away from each other). Research also shows that elderly people who have learned to use the internet have more positive attitudes to aging and experience higher levels of social support and community (Cody et al., 1999).
As is argued, digital competence or lack thereof influence a wide range of areas. Due to this complexity of professional concepts across the many aspects of life, it makes sense to categorise and simplify digital competence in a few main areas.
Below is a model where digital competence is divided into four main areas. There is, of course, in practice an overlap between such areas and a wide range of activities that can not be isolated into a single area. When we reduce the complexity of a few overall areas, the accuracy is also lowered. What we gain instead is a better overview and easier understanding of the field, which is the purpose when mapping digital competence.
Ability to identify, locate, retrieve, store, organise and analyse digital information and evaluate relevance and purpose
Ability to communicate, collaborate, interact with and participate in virtual teams and networks as well as make use of appropriate media, tone and behavior
Ability to create, configure, and edit digital content, solve digital problems and explore new ways to take advantage of technology
Ability to use digital technology safely and sustainably in relation to data, identity and work injuries and to pay attention to legal consequences, rights and duties
The main areas are still on a level that is abstract and difficult to measure. In order to enable measurement, the main areas must therefore be broken up into smaller pieces.
In the following sections, each main area is divided into four digital competences.
Information: Ability to identify, locate, retrieve, store, organise and analyse digital information and evaluate relevance and purpose
Typically strong professions at Information are librarians, school teachers and researchers.
In order to concretise the main area Information, it is divided into the following four competences. For each digital competence, examples have been added which aim to further clarify the competence.
The ability to format, organise and store digital material while keeping both safety and accessibility in mind
Ability to search and find digital information, navigate between many online resources and sort through irrelevant information
Ability to process, understand and critically evaluate digital information when sent and received
Ability and desire to seek out and benefit from self-service solutions online
Communication: Ability to communicate, collaborate, interact with and participate in virtual teams and networks as well as make use of appropriate media, tone and behavior
Typically strong professions within Communication are journalists, HR, marketing.
In order to concretise the main area Communication, it is divided into the following four competences. For each digital competence, examples have been added which aim to further clarify the competence.
Ability and interest in making use of, expressing opinions or otherwise contributing actively and making yourself visible in digital environments
Ability to use technologies and media for teamwork, coordination and collaboration processes
Ability to reconcile behavior, tone, language and technology with regard to context and social relations
Ability to interact through a wide range of digital platforms and to be able to choose the best media for communicating with a specific recipient or group
Typically strong professions within the area of competence Production are designers, programmers, IT professionals.
In order to concretise the main area Production, it is divided into the following four competences. For each digital competence, examples have been added which aim to further clarify the competence.
Ability to create, assemble parts and modify content in many different formats. E.g. images, text, video or sound
Ability and willingness to stay updated on the technological developments and explore new digital opportunities
Ability to modify or create digital solutions that can fully or partially automate and perform a task
Ability to adjust applications and devices to their own personal preferences, as well as to solve technical problems or tasks
Typically strong professions within Safety are police, lawyers, ergonomics.
In order to concretise the main area Safety, it is divided into the following four competences. For each digital competence, examples have been added which aim to further clarify the competence.
Knowledge about current laws and licenses for digital behavior, information and content
Ability to monitor and protect your personal information online and understand the consequences of personal digital footprints
Ability to identify and protect sensitive data and understand related risks
Ability to care for both physical and mental health in an everyday life surrounded by technology and media