We are now working with all UK educational organisations to support all aspects of building digital capability – through our Building digital capability service.
The Building digital capability service launched last October to subscribers, and offers a suit of practical tools and guidance to support UK educational organisations with all aspects of building digital capability. We’ve focused it around:
how we can support from an individual perspective your staff and students to develop their capabilities and identify their strengths and weaknesses through the discovery tool;
and from an organisational perspective support in your organisational journey to digital capability, and through the data from the tool help to provide you with indicative data on where your staff and students are.
Many of you will be familiar with the Jisc digitally capabilities framework which has been influential across the sector in providing a starting point for a shared understanding of the digital capabilities our students and staff may need.
It starts from the perspective that digital capabilities are those that enable an individual to live, learn and work in a digital society.
It encompasses high level capabilities – around digital identity and wellbeing which focuses on developing your personal and professional identities; 4 core digital practices in the centre around communication and collaboration; teaching and learning; digital creation and problem solving; and information and data & media literacies. And the functional ICT skills which fall out of those higher level discussions above.
Moves us away from thinking about digital skills as particular skills to use a particular tool (although that is incorporated) – to considering the broader digital practices that we need to achieve our goals.
You may also be familiar with work we’ve done to contextualise the framework - we know that people don’t set out to become ‘digitally capable’ in a general way. They set out to learn a particular subject, to research a particular topic, to achieve particular tasks, to work towards particular goals in their career. So the framework has to be adapted to make sense in very different settings. We have explored the framework from the perspective of different staff roles.
So from an understanding of digital practices staff and students might need – we needed to consider where they were starting from. This was the basis for the development of the discovery tool – which enables staff and students to self-assess their strengths and weaknesses.
It provides a series of reflective questions that relate to the 6 elements of digital capability in the framework and also in relation to particular roles. By answering the questions staff are made aware of the skills they already have and new ones they might like to try.
As it’s designed to be primarily a developmental tool, to help support staff and students explore their personal levels of confidence and capability - it is NOT an objective measure of digital competence, and isn’t designed to be a full course of study – instead it provides a range of pointers to relevant resources.
So we’ve talked about digital capabilities from the individual perspective of staff and students; but if we’re truly to move towards enabling our students to thrive not just survive our organisations as a whole need to develop their cultures, policies and infrastructure to enable and support digital practices.
We developed a model in 2017 that sought to consider digital capabilities from an organisational perspective rather than individual– which identifies the areas across an organisation to consider:
4 core activities identified across the organisation,
L,T&A Research and innovation Communication Content and information
and ICT infrastructure underpinning these activities and encompassed by digital culture.
Through working with over 40 universities and colleges over the past year with their use of the discovery tool, we’ve identified some of the key success factors in building a digitally capable organisation which need to be in place to ensure success. . These include:
A common vocabulary - is there a common understanding of digital skills across the organisation?
Does your organisation have a strategy which articulates your vision for developing a digitally capable organisation & is there a strategic lead?
Does your organisation have a stakeholder group which meets regularly to steer/advise on digital capability? Who is on that group and does it include key stakeholders from all business areas (e.g. HR, IT, estates, staff development/educational development, library, academic staff, student facing services…careers)
Have you engaged HR in considering how digital capabilities are embedded within their practices (eg recruitment, induction, appraisal)
Are the benefits clear to staff and students? How are these benefits being communicated?
Is there a a culture of encouraging, recognising and rewarding innovation?
And how are you building digital capability into the curriculum. Are digital outcomes embedded in your graduate and programme level outcomes? Are digital activities enabling those outcomes as part of the curriculum?
So we’ve taken our initial capture of the key success factors involved in building organisational digital capability & our organisational model a step further to develop, led by my colleague Gill Ferrell in collaboration with the sector, an action oriented benchmarking tool to support organisations self-reflect on where they are on this journey.
We value the power of taking a principle led approach to digital change – which always puts good practice at the heart of any change – and so combined that approach with a format we’ve used for other tools –for eg the NUS student digital experience benchmarking tool which has been well received sector wide, and an similar benchmarking tool around assessment practice as our starting point and worked to the similar format – based on identifying indicators of practice against good practice principles for different levels of maturity.
It serves a complementary purpose to our individual capability framework – looking beyond the capabilities of individuals to the organisation as a whole. It aims to enable self-assessment, and contribute to your organisational journey.
It has been developed primarily for subscribers to the building digital capability service –but we’re sharing it here with you in draft form for your feedback. Our first step was to develop, based on the original organisational capability model, a set of high level ‘good practice’ principles for the 6 functions of an organisation identified in the model. For example – for organisational digital culture – that the organisation embraces digital as a key tenet of business success; and develops the digital capabilities of its students and staff.
The next step was to develop 3 levels of maturity – Emerging, Established and Enhanced – with ‘indicators’ of what practice/policy/process might look like at these different levels of maturity against each of 11 good practice principles. These were drawn from a range of sources – published sources such as the UCISA digital capabilities survey reports, case studies from the sector as well as discussions through our Jisc digital capabilities community of practice.
It is important to note that it is not suggesting that ALL organisations should be aiming to achieve the enhanced level – it is down to you to decide where you aim to be on the spectrum.
Some of the indicators are progressive, ie you may start out in a small way at ‘Emerging’ and expand the practice across the whole organisation at ‘Enhanced’; some evolve so the practice changes e.g from teacher led to learner led; and some are shown as a specifically indicative of a particular level of maturity.
These are just examples – they are intended as a guide so aren’t exclusive – you may have other examples that fit with your context.
So – for example:
The principle that the organisation embraces digital technologies as a key tenet of business success – includes indicators around:
Development of a digital strategy that covers all core functions - L&T, research, admin and infrastructure The importance of a cross—institutional stakeholder group leading digital capability across the organisation The importance of partnerships between staff and students around building digital capability
These indicators can contribute to the development of a culture that enables digital practice
The University of Leicester worked with us to develop a case study which highlights some examples of these approaches.
They have articulated the role of digital in achieving their strategic goals to be a ‘discovery-led university ‘increasingly focused on innovation’ in their digital strategy ‘Discovery-enabling digital 2016-2020.
Their approach is one that puts digital at the heart of what they do, recognises the importance of the people and culture not just the tech. They are taking a whole organisation view of what this will involve for all stakeholders. A multistranded approach to implementation includes both top down and bottom up, and is driven by a cross-institutional stakeholder group: Digital skills – developed a new framework based on the Jisc work as the starting point for a shared institution wide language around digital capability Digital Innovation Partnerships – involving students, staff and a digital advocate Digital infrastructure – including a new social ‘digital reading room’ in the library Establishing Governance structures to build in future looking approach Enhancing digital leadership to support this large scale digital initiative Digital activities across disciplines and internationally Communicating the vision
In terms of learning, teaching and assessment practices, one of the good practice principles is around ensuring digital approaches are being used to help prepare learners for future success – with indicators including:
Digital capabilities are viewed as important learner outcomes Inclusion of digital practices in the curriculum Use of subject relevant digital tools as part of their courses
Other related indicators include Threshold standards for staff / student capability & regular review of skill levels The organisation has role profiles defining digital capabilities for many roles and levels with a structured development lifecycle Managing digital capabilities is becoming embedded into staff and student life-cycle management via recruitment, induction, training and review
An example of where this is happening is at the University of Derby. Their TEL strategy has the development of digital capabilities as one of their five key goals.
To achieve this goal one of their initiatives involves working with subject teams to identify digital capability profiles pertinent to their subject specialisms:
They established a Digital Practice Baseline in 2017/18, with 160 programmes working through the benchmarking and action planning. The approach provides academic teams the space to articulate effective practice and commit to developing a best in class digital learning experience through an evaluation and action-planning framework (informing local practice and central support). The benchmarking has identified and disseminated areas of 'best practice', with programmes emerging as ‘pathfinders’ of excellence.
They are overcoming the barriers of digital capability through a programme of activity, including a digital capability induction course for all new staff and digital capability self-audits (over 500 completed by staff members).
So how can you use this tool to support your journey?
We have developed some templates to support you in reflecting on where you are in your journey – supporting you to identify strengths and areas for improvement – this radial diagram provides a template for you to plot in diagrammatic form.
The next steps are to finalise the model – and your feedback would be very welcome to inform that process.
We’re also developing an interactive version of the tool for us to use when working in consultation with the community – to provide connections through from the model to suggested actions, resources, and examples of practice once a self-assessment has been undertaken to move forward in the journey. The ultimate aim is that this will be available online potentially for subscribing institutions to use on a self –serve basis.
BDC_CoP_271119 - Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
Creating a digitally
the critical success factors
•Background and introducing the maturity model
• Activity – where is your organisation on the journey to digital
Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors2
Building digital capability service
Find out more at:
Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
Establishing a common vocabulary
4 Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
A starting point for staff and students: the discovery tool
The discovery tool
•A self-administered quiz about
professional digital practices (in
•Designed to give useful feedback
including 'next steps' and links to
•Reflective, informative and
Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
Developing organisational digital capability
‘The extent to which the culture, policies
and infrastructure of an organisation
enable and support digital practices.’
Helen Beetham (2017)
How is your organisation developing
its organisational digital capability?
6 Jisc 2017 model CC BY-NC-NDCreating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
What are organisations doing in this space?
Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors7
Key success factors
•How is this communicated?
•Recruitment, appraisal etc.
•Developing staff and students
•Reward and recognition
•Building digital capability into the curriculum
•Working in partnership
• The organisation
Identifying good practice principles
Suggested ‘indicators’ of what ‘good’ looks like
9 Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
10 Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
“A digitally fluent institution is one that makes use of the
tools and resources available to it, but it is also where a
community of talented individuals are empowered
and encouraged to innovate and design in new and
different ways. The confidence that comes with this digital
fluency is what can help drive our research ambition, our
enterprise flair and our teaching creativity. Being digitally
fluent enables everyone to contribute to the thing that
defines us as an institution – being a place of learning, a
place of discovery.”
Dr Ross Parry,
Deputy pro-vice chancellor (Digital),
University of Leicester
11 Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
12 Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
“All staff and students to have an appropriate level of
digital capabilities with extensive practical application in
University of Derby TEL strategy 2017-2021
13 Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
Where are you on your journey?
14 Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
• Work in pairs to self-assess your organisation
(focus on one section) - 15 mins
• Discuss with your table and agree 3 key points of
feedback per table - 15 mins
• How useful is the model in helping you consider
your organisational digital capability?
• How would you see it being used in practice?
• How could it be more useful?
Where are you?
Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors15
16 Creating a digitally capable organisation: the critical success factors
Get in touch…
Except where otherwise noted, this
work is licensed under CC-BY
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