Understanding Digital Competence in the 21st Century: An Analysis of Current Frameworks

  • Anusca Ferrari
  • Yves Punie
  • Christine Redecker
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7563)


This paper discusses the notion of digital competence and its components. It reports on the identification, selection, and analyses of fifteen frameworks for the development of digital competence. Its objective is to understand how digital competence is currently understood and implemented. It develops an overview of the different sub-competences that are currently taken into account and builds a proposal for a common understanding of digital competence.


Digital Competence 21st century skills Frameworks Key Competences 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Silverstone, R., Hirsch, E.: Consuming technologies. Routledge, London/NY (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Leu, D.J.: Literacy and technology: Deictic consequences for literacy education in an information age. Handbook of Reading Research 3, 743–770 (2000)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Coiro, J., Knobel, M., Lankshear, C., Leu, D.J.: Handbook of research on new literacies. Routledge, New York-London (2008)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Martin, A., Grudziecki, J.: DigEuLit: Concepts and Tools for Digital Literacy Development. ITALICS: Innovations in Teaching & Learning in Information & Computer Sciences 5, 246–264 (2006)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gilster, P.: Digital literacy. John Wiley, New York (1997)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bawden, D.: Origins and Concepts Of Digital Literacy. In: Lankshear, C., Knobel, M. (eds.) Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies & Practices, pp. 17–32 (2008)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Eshet-Alkalai, Y.: Digital Literacy. A Conceptual Framework for Survival Skills in the Digital Era. Journal of Educational Multimedia & Hypermedia 13, 93–106 (2004)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ala-Mutka, K.: Mapping Digital Competence: Towards a Conceptual Understanding. In: JRC-IPTS (2011)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Amiel, T.: Mistaking computers for technology: Technology literacy and the digital divide (2004)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kress, G.: Multimodality: a social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. Routledge, NY (2010)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bawden, D.: Information and digital literacies: a review of concepts. Journal of Documentation 57, 218–259 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Horton Jr., F.W.: Information literacy vs. computer literacy. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science 9, 14–16 (1983)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Buckingham, D.: Media education: Literacy, learning, and contemporary culture. Polity (2003)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Livingstone, S.: The changing nature and uses of media literacy. In: LSE (2003)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rotherham, A.J., Willingham, D.T.: “21st-Century” Skills. American Educator 17 (2010)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    NCCA: Curriculum Assessment and ICT in the Irish context: a Discussion Paper (2004)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Banaji, S., Burn, A., Buckingham, D.: Rhetorics of creativity: a review of the literature (2006)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Irving, L., Klegar-Levy, K., Everette, D., Reynolds, T., Lader, W.: Falling through the Net: Defining the digital divide. National Telecommunications and Information Administration, US Deps of Commerce, Washington, DC (1999)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Molnár, S.: The explanation frame of the digital divide. In: Proceedings of the Summer School, Risks and Challenges of the Network Society, pp. 4–8 (2003)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Livingstone, S., Helsper, E.: Gradations in digital inclusion: children, young people and the digital divide. New Media & Society 9, 671 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    McConnaughey, J., Lader, W.: Falling through the net II: new data on the digital divide. National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Department of Commerce, US Government (1998)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Erstad, O.: Educating the Digital Generation. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy 1, 56–70 (2010)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Prensky, M.: Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon 9 (2001)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bennett, S., Maton, K., Kervin, L.: The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology 39, 775–786 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hargittai, E.: Digital Na(t)ives? Variation in Internet Skills and Uses among Members of the “Net Generation”. Sociological Inquiry 80, 92–113 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Sefton-Green, J., Nixon, H., Erstad, O.: Reviewing Approaches and Perspectives on “Digital Literacy”. Pedagogies: An International Journal 4, 107–125 (2009)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hartley, J., Montgomery, M., Brennan, M.: Communication, cultural and media studies: The key concepts. Psychology Press (2002)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    European Commission: Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. COM (2010) 2020 (2010)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    OECD: Learning to change (2001)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Simonson, M.R., Maurer, M., Montag-Torardi, M., Whitaker, M.: Development of a standardized test of computer literacy and a computer anxiety index. Journal of Educational Computing Research 3, 231–247 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Oliver, R., Towers, S.: Benchmarking ICT literacy in tertiary learning settings, Citeseer, pp. 381–390Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Deursen, A.J.A.M.: Internet skills: vital assets in an information society (2010)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hofstetter, F.T., Sine, P.: Internet literacy. Irwin/McGraw-Hill (1998)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Christ, W.G., Potter, W.J.: Media literacy, media education, and the academy. Journal of Communication 48, 5–15 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ofcom: Media Literacy Audit: Report on media literacy amongst children. Ofcom (2006)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    America Library Association: Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. ALA (1989)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    OECD: PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do. Students performance in reading, mathematics and science. OECD, Paris (2010)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Rainie, L., Purcell, K., Smith, A.: The social side of the internet. Pew Research Centre (2011)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Silverstone, R.: Domesticating domestication: Reflections on the life of a concept. In: Berker, T., Hartmann, M., Punie, Y., Ward, K.J. (eds.) Domestication of Media and Technology, pp. 229–248. Open University Press, Maidenhead (2006)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    CEDEFOP: Terminology of European education and training policy. A selection of 100 key terms. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities (2008)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Newman, T.: A review of digital literacy in 0 – 16 year olds: evidence, developmental models, and recommendations, Becta (2008)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Thoman, E., Jolls, T.: Literacy for the 21st Century. An Overview & Orientation Guide To Media Literacy Education. In: CML (2003)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Calvani, A., Cartelli, A., Fini, A., Ranieri, M.: Models and instruments for assessing digital competence at school. Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society 4 (2009)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Martin, A.: Literacies for the Digital Age. In: Martin, A., Madigan, D. (eds.) Digital Literacies for Learning, Facet, London, pp. 3–25 (2006)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Eshet-Alkalai, Y., Chajut, E.: You can teach old dogs new tricks: The factors that affect changes over time in digital literacy. Journal of Information Technology Education 9, 173–181 (2010)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    International ICT Literacy Panel: Digital Transformation. A Framework for ICT Literacy. ETS (2007)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Crawford, J., Irving, C.: The Scottish Information Literacy Project and school libraries. Aslib Proceedings (2010)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    UNESCO: Unesco ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (2011)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    European Parliament and the Council: Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Union L394/310 (2006)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Bloom, B.S.: Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. In: Bloom, B.S., et al. (eds.) The Classification of Educational Goals. Longmans, London (1964) (printed in U.S.A)Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Westera, W.: Competences in education: a confusion of tongues. Journal of Curriculum Studies 33, 75–88 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Lusoli, W., Bacigalupo, M., Lupiañez, F., Andrade, N., Monteleone, S., Maghiros, I.: Pan-European survey of practices, attitudes & policy preferences as regards personal identity data management. In: JRC-IPTS (2011)Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    European Commission: A Digital Agenda for Europe. COM(2010)245 final (2010)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Ala-Mutka, K., Broster, D., Cachia, R., Centeno, C., Feijóo, C., Haché, A., Kluzer, S., Lindmark, S., Lusoli, W., Misuraca, G., Pascu, C., Punie, Y., Valverde, J.A.: The Impact of Social Computing on the EU Information Society and Economy. In: JRC-IPTS (2009)Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Erstad, O.: Conceptions of Technology Literacy and Fluency. In: Penelope, P., Eva, B., Barry, M. (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Education, pp. 34–41. Elsevier, Oxford (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anusca Ferrari
    • 1
  • Yves Punie
    • 1
  • Christine Redecker
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS)European Commission, Joint Research CentreSevilleSpain

Personalised recommendations