Digital capabilities at an individual level; are attitudes and skills which equip someone to live, learn and work in a digital society.
Digital capabilities are relevant to everyone, not just in their work lives but increasingly in all aspects of their lives. This is why our digital capabilities - the skills, knowledge and understanding which help us to live, learn and work in a digital society - are so important. For an organisation, the ability to cultivate new and existing skills of their staff, as well as attract skilled staff, will depend on how well the range of digital capabilities are embedded into policies, processes and everyday practice.
The digital capabilities framework is a nationally recognised framework created by Jisc to support you in developing your digital skills. The usefulness of the framework comes in the discussions that can be had about digital capabilities along with enabling an individual to conceptualise their current and future digital knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Six elements of the digital capability framework
How you use digital devices, networks, applications, software and services, and how you use your digital skills to accomplish tasks.
How you produce digital media, solve problems, make decisions and answer questions, and innovate with new digital practices and solutions.
How you turn digital opportunities into personal learning gains, and support and develop others in digital settings.
How you find, evaluate, organise and share information and data, and how you receive and respond to digital messages.
How you communicate using digital media and networks, and collaborate in digital teams using shared tools to achieve a goal.
How you develop and project an identity and manage your reputation, and how you look after your personal health, safety, relationships and work-life balance in digital settings.
Complementing the digital capability framework (Opens PDF) are a series of role profiles that articulate those capabilities in specific role contexts e.g. students, a HE teacher, researcher and professional services staff. The framework and profiles give you a common vocabulary around which discussions about digital capabilities can be had.
Discovery Tool: Discover your digital capabilities
Assess your digital capabilities using the Discovery Tool. The tool aims to aid understanding and self-reflection and then highlights opportunities for you to develop your skills. Answer questions relating to your digital skills, understanding and confidence to receive a personalised report.
The importance of enhancing our digital capabilities
Developing our digital capabilities provides benefits for us, our students and our colleagues across a range of practices inside the University, as well as at home.
We need to use technology to access information, to be creative and innovative, to communicate, to participate, to learn and to support others in digital spaces. Understanding and enhancing our digital capabilities is therefore crucial for our personal and professional development and our practice.
For academic staff, enhancing our digital capabilities means we can be more effective in our teaching and research, better connect with students and colleagues, and stay current with new developments in our field. Developing digital capabilities will also help us create more engaging and interactive learning experiences, which can lead to greater student engagement and better learning outcomes.
The importance of this is reflected in our University of Leeds Strategy 2020-2030 in which we commit to “Develop the skills staff and students need to take advantage of a digitally-enabled, student-centred, active-learning experience across all programmes”.
In addition, it is also an Office for Students (OFs) regulatory requirement to ensure that “the core skills and knowledge required to deliver high quality blended courses continue to extend, teaching staff’s continuous professional development in line with this extension is fully supported.” Blended Learning Review (2022).
The Jisc DEI HE Teaching Report 2021-22 (Opens PDF) highlighted that staff felt they needed more assessment and guidance of their digital skills. To enable you to do this you can use the Discovery Tool, explore the six elements of the framework and find out how to embed digital capabilities in your practice.
Digital capability dimensions
To help explore the Jisc digital capabilities framework in greater depth, we have looked at it through an expanded lens of the Triple-E framework (enhance, embed and empower) and providing examples to help contextualise this.
This additional dimension provides a more nuanced view of each element by offering a set of examples which outline each of the three components: enhance, embed, and empower. These three depths of engagement are contextual and for an individual to choose what works best for them, in a given time and circumstance.