Digital Competence: Identification and European-wide validation of its key components for all levels of learners (DIGCOMP)





DIGCOMP: A Framework for Developing and Understanding Digital Competence in Europe (2013) Author: Anusca Ferrari


Starting date: December 2010
Duration: 24 months

Client: European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture, Unit Jean Monet, partnerships and relations with agencies (EAC A3)



  • Identify the key components of Digital Competence (DC) in terms of the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be digitally competent;
  • Develop a DC framework/guidelines that can be validated at European level, taking into account relevant frameworks currently available;
  • Propose a roadmap for the possible use and revision of a DC framework for all levels of learners.


(1) a consolidated draft proposal for a DC framework, applicable at all levels of education, including non-formal settings

(2) roadmap on how to realise and revise the DC framework.


With the 2006 European Recommendation on Key Competences (Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006), Digital Competence has been acknowledged as one of the 8 key competences for Lifelong Learning by the European Union.

Digital Competence can be broadly defined as the confident, critical and creative use of ICT to achieve goals related to work, employability, learning, leisure, inclusion and/or participation in society. DC is a transversal key competence which, as such, enables acquiring other key competences (e.g. language, maths, learning to learn, creativity). It is amongst the so-called 21st Century skills which should be acquired by all citizens, to ensure their active socio-economic participation in society and the economy.

Major questions:

  • What are the key components of DC and what kind of knowledge, skills and attitudes people should have to be digitally competent, today and in the future?
  • How can and/or should the development of this competence be validated at European level within a lifelong learning context, thus encompassing formal education, non-formal and informal learning and the world of work?


The phases of the study are depicted in the figure below. The project comprises:

  1. a conceptual mapping of DC, where the main concepts of DC are discussed and refined (see JRC Technical Note);
  2. a case studies collection, where several current DC frameworks and initiatives are collected and analysed;
  3. an online consultation with stakeholders, where experts' opinions on the basic components of DC are collected and structured;
  4. an experts' workshop, where intermediary findings are presented and discussed;
  5. a draft proposal for a conceptual framework, where the three previous points are  merged and elaborated;
  6. a multi-stakeholders' consultation, where consensus is reached and a conceptual framework is detailed.
  7. a subsequent final proposal, taking into account the feedback received from stakeholders.

The Digital Competence study is expected to contribute to several actions under the Europe 2020 Flagship "Digital Agenda for Europe" as well as the Flagships "New Skills and Jobs", "Youth on the move" and "Innovation Union".

The study has relevant links with the one on ICT of the Assessment of Key Competences (COMPASS). 


Dissemination activities of the project

Related events:

Related publications:


Project Leader: Anusca Ferrari,

(with initial contributions from Kirsti Ala-Mutka (now at DG INFSO),

Theme Leader: Yves Punie,