The ’six elements of digital capability’ framework has been influential across the sector in informing how we describe and understand what digital capabilities are and is now a core part of the Building digital capability service.
It starts from the perspective that digital capabilities are those that enable an individual to live, learn and work in a digital society.
It provides one way of thinking about staff and student digital capabilities. It provides a single, generic description that everyone can relate to.
Jisc’s Building digital capability service provides: Our Discovery tool, an empowering first step for staff and students to reflect on their digital capabilities. It will help them identify current strengths and areas for development. On completion, your staff and students will receive a personalised report with suggested next steps and links to free resources that can help them develop further. And new this year, you can add your own training resources. For leaders, our organisational models set out what a digitally capable organisation might look like, and provide a step by step approach to help you wherever you are on your journey. Data dashboards provide a picture of how your staff and students feel about their digital skills and where further training may be beneficial. Our service website helps you to find practical advice and guidance, whether you are interested in your own (or your students) development, are supporting others or are leading change. Our community of practice is the place for staff and leaders to share experiences and spark ideas. Subscribing to the service will provide you with 2 priority places per organisation at each of our twice yearly events. If you’re looking for more, our range of discounted training courses take you further and provide the support that you and your staff might need We also offer expert consultancy to help you achieve your goals
These provide a snapshot of the skills required for different roles. They aren’t suggesting that all staff have to have all capabilities, but can be used as a starter for conversations around the sorts of skills that may be required across a team perhaps, and to identify where there might be skill gaps.
We have 8 role profiles in total, HE teacher, FE teacher, Digital leader, library and information professional, researcher, learning technologist and learner. Many have been mapped to their respective professional framework in collaboration with the professional bodies – for example the learning technology mapping was developed alongside ALT, and the HE teacher mapped to the UKPSF.
The discovery tool is a starting point for staff and students to self-assess their skills.
It provides a series of reflective questions that relate to the different elements of the Jisc digital capability framework and by answering the questions users are made aware of the skills they already have and new ones they might like to try. The tool provides users with a visual summary of where they are and their capability rating for each of the elements covered and in the subscribed version they are also presented with suggested next steps and further resources.
As it’s designed to be primarily a developmental tool, it is NOT an objective measure of digital competence, and it isn’t designed to be a full course of study – instead it provides a range of pointers to relevant resources.
Over the next few slides I’ll be showing you the key features of the tool, and highlighting some of the new and improved features that we have implemented based on the feedback we received during the pilot phase of the tool that ran between January and June of this year.
The first one is that users can sign now in using their organisational ID’s through SAML/Shibboleth authentication where their organisation is a member of the UK access management federation.
When users land on the dashboard they will also find it more streamlined, making it easier to begin the exploration of their digital capabilities.
One of the regular requests from our pilot institutional leads was to have something easily accessible from the dashboard which helps contextualise digital capabilities for their staff and students that would be using the tool so we have included the excellent University of Derby animation that provides an insight into what digital capabilities are and why they are important.
Within the tool we now have a question set ‘bank’ that enables staff to choose which question set(s) are most relevant to their role. This includes the “Overall capabilities” question set that is applicable to staff from all roles and more specialist question sets for teachers and those working in library settings.
In the student version there are two sets of questions available:
One for new and arriving students And one for existing students
Each question set has two main question types for each element covered. These are:
Activity (grid) questions where users select all the statements that apply to them AND A confidence question where users move a pointer to show how confident they feel about that particular element
The question types are arranged slightly differently depending on the question set – the smaller role specific question sets have more depth to them with 2 activity/breadth questions per element to explore a broader range of activities, and the larger ‘overall’ capability question set has just one activity question per element.
Once a user has completed all the questions within a question set they are provided with a tailored feedback report. This example shows what a users of the full discovery tool receive. So, for each element they are given:
Their confidence level rating (developing | capable | proficient) Suggested next steps And recommended resources
Users can download their report and share it if they choose to.
When users complete question sets, they can view their reports again, or re-take those particular question sets from the new discovery tool reports page, as well as see the last time they completed them.
The tool also has a resource bank where users will find a range of resources that they can browse through which have been mapped to the different elements of the digital capability framework and other elements used in the question sets.
Within the resource bank there are sections that provide collections of resources for new students, teachers and library staff. Along with resources suitable for all staff and students in the overall digital capabilities and what does digital capability mean collections.
What does digital capability mean? Overall digital capabilities resource bank - This resource bank maps a wide range of resources to the Jisc digital capabilities framework. The resources are appropriate for both staff and students. Digital capabilities for new students resource bank - This resource bank offers resources which are mapped to 7 key areas of activity that new students need to become effective digital learners Teaching resource bank - This resource bank is mapped to 8 areas of digital activity that teaching staff may be involved with. Library and learning resources resource bank - This resource bank is mapped to 7 key areas of activity that library and learning resources staff may be involved with.
Although the tool is primarily a developmental tool, it does provide anonymised data to subscribed institutions to support organisational planning, for example where training could be most effectively targeted.
These data dashboards include information on: The overall number of staff that have completed question sets by department and the overall number of students that have completed question sets by subject area They also provide capability ratings (developing | capable | proficient) for: Overall organisation Department Subject area And they provide sector comparisons for all of these
Mainly useful for informing conversations. Care needs to be taken around how this data is used. Scoring bands needs to be used with caution – as lower scores don’t necessarily mean ‘deficit’.
Coming soon to the full version of the tool will be:
The ability for institutions to add links to their own resources or particular resources that they would like to specifically highlight to their staff and students
Individual users will also be able to claim a digital badge to demonstrate when they have completed a question set
Many of the features I have shown you on previous slides are available in the subscriber version of the tool, however, there is a free version of the tool available for all staff (though not students).
This provides access to the ‘Overall capabilities’ question set which staff can re-take whenever they want and receive a shortened version of the feedback report on its completion.
It does not provide staff with access to any other question sets or the resource bank.
We have been piloting the tool this year with over 100 organisations across HE and FE, learning from that experience.
From 66 institutions, 4,812 staff completed the tool (as of 31st May), made up of: 1352 FE and skills 3042 HE 418 Other From 66 institutions (staff pilot), 11 institutions (learner pilot) And with 413 students (from April – May) Completions for students lower as this only came online for testing in April.
Overall experience of the tool HE and FE staff and student feedback broadly similar 8 out of 10 felt tool was easy to use and the interface was well designed. Over 7 out of 10 staff rated the tool as either ‘good’ (median) or ‘excellent’
These quotes highlight the main benefits found by staff and students; Opportunity to stop and reflect Liked the insights into their strengths and weaknesses Saw the relevance to future workplace And liked the targeted suggestions
Building digital capability surgery
Building digital capability
Developing staff and student digital capability
• Information literacy
• Data literacy
• Media literacy
Building digital capability2
• ICT proficiency
• ICT productivity
• Digital learning
• Digital teaching
• Digital creation
• Digital research and
• Digital innovation
• Digital identity management
• Digital wellbeing
• Digital communication
• Digital collaboration
• Digital participation
Building digital capability service
3 Find out more and sign up at: https://digitalcapability.jisc.ac.uk/subcribe/
Building digital capability website
Building digital capability4
Building digital capability website – for everyone
Building digital capability5
•What is digital capability?
•High level digital capability frameworks
• Six elements of digital capability
• Digital capabilities framework for
• Eight role profiles
• NEW **professional services staff in education
•Discovery tool (free reduced version)
•Advice and guidance
•Case studies NEW **University of Leicester
Building digital capability website – for subscribers
•3 pathways through the resources
• Leading digital change
• Developing others
• Developing my digital capability
•Strategic steps towards organisational
• Suggested actions, resources and
•Discovery tool (full version) with full
guidance on implementation
Building digital capability6
What is the discovery tool?
• A self-administered quiz for staff and students about digital practices in education
• Designed to give useful feedback including 'next steps' and links to resources
• Reflective, informative and developmental
• Based on the Jisc digital capability framework
Building digital capability7
• An objective measure of digital competence
• A complete learning resource or course of
New and improved features
Building digital capability8
Question set bank
Building digital capability10
Each question set has two question types:
Building digital capability11
Building digital capability12
Each element has:
• Level: developing | capable | proficient
• Next steps: what people at this level can try to develop further
• Resources: links to selected resources for further exploration
Building digital capability14
Teaching resource bank
Institutional data dashboards
• Overall number of staff
that have completed
question sets (by
• Scoring bands
(developing / capable /
- Overall organisation
- And sector
comparisons for all
Building digital capability15
Provides institutional leads with anonymised data on:
Building digital capability16
Resources added by institutions to feedback reports
Free version available to all staff
Building digital capability17
Feedback report (shortened version)
• Discovery tool
• Question sets – more roles or by theme?
• Other tool features
• Digital capability framework
• How can it be made more usable and actionable?
• Role profile enhancements – key roles missing, or do we need to consider a different
approach? Or clearer mapping back to the framework elements?
• Supporting organisational digital capability
• Maturity model for to help identify what ‘good’ looks like at different stages?
Building digital capability18
What would add value for you and your organisation?
Findings from the pilot
• Total number of completions:
• 4812 staff
• 413 learners
• From 112 organisations
• Findings from:
• 543 staff, 71 learners and 34 institutional leads
• Plus interviews and focus groups
• Approximately three quarters users rated
their overall experience as good or excellent
• Greatest benefit – opportunity to reflect on practice
Building digital capability19
Perceived levels of benefit of the discovery tool to
Building digital capability20
Minimal benefit Some benefit Beneficial Highly beneficial
Minimal benefit Some benefit Beneficial Very beneficial
What the staff and students have told us
Building digital capability21
“I enjoyed using it. The
recorded my strengths
“I thought the data and
insights it provided
just based on a quick
“Made me think about
things in more detail,
and actually assess
“Did give me an idea of
specific areas which
would be worth working
on, targeted action”
“Really useful, and I
particularly like how it
is relevant to skills for
both my course and
my future career”
“[I’ve] shied away from
this area, so having an
abundance of help/
feedback was great”
Perceived levels of benefit of the discovery tool to
Building digital capability22
Minimal benefit Some benefit Beneficial Very beneficial
Building digital capability23
Interested in the service?
• New service site: https://digitalcapability.jisc.ac.uk/
• Sign up at: ji.sc/register-digital-capabilities
• Discovery tool: https://jisc.potential.ly
• Project blog:
• Email the project team at:
• Follow #digitalcapability on Twitter
• Six elements framework:
• Digital capability institutional videos
• Role profiles - overview: http://ji.sc/Digi-cap-
different-roles and accessed from:
• Online guide – Developing organisational
approaches to digital capability
• Digital leaders programme
Building digital capability24
Except where otherwise noted,
this work is licensed under CC-BY