Digital Competency Framework

(IO2) Prepared by IDEAL Consortium 2022

This framework is intended to apply to the activities of educators, trainers and learning designers in higher education and higher vocational education and training (HE/HVET) who are using digital technology, whether remotely or otherwise.

During the pandemic, teachers’ digital competencies took their place as one of the focal points of distance education, as it was one of the variables that cause differences in quality and scope in distance education applications. Before the pandemic, teacher digital competence frameworks were based on supporting the current structure of teaching and learning practices in many countries. In light of the experience gained in online and distance education practices carried out in this context, as well as scientific research, a common theme emerged that the digital competencies of teachers should go beyond the concepts and components that were spoken before the epidemic.

The structure of the IDEAL framework

The framework is depicted as three rings or concentric circles.

Outer ring (Ethos, conduct and judgement). This section outlines key principles that underpin the framework and are applicable to practitioners in digital learning. Start with the effectiveness and experience of learning as the objective of all activities, using the potential provided by digital media and resources to enhance them.

The middle ring is a cycle of three aspects of teaching and learning:

    • A. Planning and designing

    • B. Facilitating learning

    • C. Assessing and evaluating.

The inner ring contains ‘transversal’ activities that underpin and support the teaching and learning activities:

    • D. Using digital resources

    • E. Managing the digital environment

    • F. Professional development

Interactive Framework Tool

Follow the clickable sections of IDEAL’s interactive framework tool to see in further detail how digital competencies can be used in practice as a reference guide or self-assessment tool, adapting it to the specific context of the user.

See below for further details on each of our digital competencies.

See more on IDEAL's competencies

Click to open the boxes below to see more information on each competency.

Set out what is to be achieved by a programme, intervention or session.

    • Plan activities involved in a programme, intervention or session

    • Integrate digital and non-digital activities

    • Maximise accessibility

    • Build in review, assessment and evaluation.

Manage learning processes

    • Facilitate digitally-mediated learning

    • Make interventions and provide feedback to support learning

    • Support the development of learning communities

    • Maximise the participation of all learners.


Review learner progress

  • Adapt review and assessment methods to remove unnecessary barriers
  • Make assessments against required learning objectives or milestones
  • Evaluate digitally-supported teaching and learning

Evaluate hardware and software for educational applications

  • Search for and evaluate digital resources and tools
  • Adapt and create digital resources
  • Collect together, organise and share digital resources

Identify and resolve problems with the use of technology

  • Make adjustments to support individual learners
  • Identify and minimise risks to well-being
  • Identify and minimise cybersecurity risks
  • Manage digital identity and presence
  • Promote and support access to digital learning and resources

Use digital media and resources for own and other’ professional development

  • Improve and extend digital proficiency
  • Improve practice in digital teaching and facilitation

Who is the framework for?

It covers a broad range of contexts, so it could be applied for instance to an online, blended or hybrid approach to a literature or science degree, training technicians using augmented and virtual reality, supporting healthcare workers via mobile learning, or providing the scaffolding for a policing programme or a surveying placement where the focus of learning is from work activity.

The framework is not directly designed for policymakers or those concerned with digital strategies within institutions or organizations. It is however relevant to ensuring that policies and strategies support effective teaching and learning. As an example, a digital strategy that assumes the main mode of learning will be through programmed learning packages or online lectures is likely to place significant barriers in the way of developing effective digital pedagogies.

The aims of the framework

The aims of the framework The framework is designed to support the objectives identified in the Erasmus+ project IDEAL (Improving Digital Education for All Learners). In particular, it is designed to embed two fundamental principles that are central to the project. These are:

Appropriate digital pedagogy, in particular a ‘learning first’ approach where digital tools are secondary to pedagogic principles. It is important that learning design starts from the objectives to be achieved and from learners’ needs, contexts and capabilities. This means being aware of what can be done with new technologies rather than trying to recreate traditional teaching methods digitally, while also not being driven by the technologies themselves.

The integration of accessibility and inclusion. Digital accessibility has been defined by Mancilla and Frey (2020) as “the design of electronic materials that are usable by all people, regardless of disabilities or environmental constraints”. Accessibility is typically used to refer to measures that overcome barriers to access, and inclusion to the principle of enabling all learners to engage meaningfully with the learning context and achieve their full potential. Inclusion can relate to disabilities, different ways of perceiving and working, gender and gender identity, economic social ethnic and cultural context, age, access to resources and connectivity, digital literacy and self-efficacy, the environment from which digital resources are being accessed, and more.

Sources and Acknowledgments

The content of the framework has been informed by existing digital education frameworks, in particular the European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators (DigCompEdu), the UK Education and Training Foundation (ETF) Digital Teaching Professional Framework (the DTPF), and the JISC digital capabilities for tutors. It also draws on IDEAL partners’ research into digital pedagogy, the implementation of digital learning solutions, and accessibility and inclusion in digital learning, and on the expertise of the individual project partners.

The structure of the framework and the principles behind it have been informed by the Erasmus+ project ComProCom (Communicating Professional Competence).