Digital and online learning

Digital skills and learning

In a globalised and fast-evolving world, digital technologies are having an unprecedented impact on education and training systems, providing new ways to teach and learn and increasing the need to develop critical digital literacies. Digital technologies represent a challenge for existing jobs and an opportunity to create new ones. Workers in the digital economy increasingly interact with digital tools and artificial intelligence, which requires regular upskilling and reskilling in a lifelong learning perspective.

In line with the European Commission’s Digital Education Action Plan 2021–2027 and European Skills Agenda, the European Training Foundation (ETF) actively promotes a human-centric and inclusive digital transformation of lifelong learning systems in transitioning and developing countries, with a special emphasis on digital inclusion.

What are we doing in this area?

1. We support digital education reforms

We support policymakers in our partner countries to design and implement digital education strategies aimed at making lifelong learning systems more relevant, effective and inclusive. Our policy advice activities in the field are mainly based on the ETF Digital Education Reform Framework. Learn more: policy briefing Fostering human-centric and future-proof digital education policies.

We raise awareness on and promote the implementation of EU tools for digital education. In particular, we promote SELFIE and SELFIE for TEACHERS, two self-reflection tools to improve the digital readiness of schools and the digital competence of teachers, respectively. Learn more: policy briefing The power of self-reflection in digital education.

We promote the use of the EU’s Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp) and use it as a foundation for our tools such as Scaffold, Teacher Booster and the Key competence lighthouse in Ukraine and Georgia.

2. We collect data and knowledge on the impact of the digital transition on skills development systems

Digital skills are often at the core of our analyses of skills mismatch in our partner countries. Learn more:

We use artificial intelligence and big data to understand labour demands in countries, regions and sectors. Learn more: read Big Data for labour market intelligence (2019); access ETF Big Data open platform (click on ‘explore’ and then ‘ETF’).

We gather data on equitable digitalisation in partner countries through the Torino Process.

3. We support grassroot initiatives and stakeholder cooperation

  • Within the ETF Network for Excellence (ENE), the DIGI-ENE initiative fosters the development of digital education practices for Industry 4.0.
  • The Skills Lab Network of Experts focuses on digital technologies, in particular the impact of artificial intelligence on skills systems.
  • The ETF Community of Innovative Educators fosters the promotion, discussion and adoption of innovative teaching and learning practices, including the use of digitally innovative pedagogies based on digital technologies.
  • Finally, during the European Year of Skills we have explored the relation between the green and digital transitions, fostering discussions among different kinds of stakeholders in view of developing recommendations for future actions.

4. We advocate for digital inclusion and equity

When promoting the digital transformation of lifelong learning systems in our partner countries, we put a special emphasis on digital inclusion and equity – advancing the discourse on the issue of connectivity and equipment whilst encompassing different topics, from digital literacy to inclusive and equitable digital online content and services. Learn more: article Radical digital inclusion; podcast Digital inclusion and the slow learning dream; book From 4 to 42: Leaving no one behind; brainstorming session at the European Development Days 2022 Digital inclusion within development actions in post-COVID times (p. 125); online game Digitally Excluded.