chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up home circle comment double-caret-left double-caret-right like like2 twitter epale-arrow-up text-bubble cloud stop caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right file-text


Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



Self-reflection for schools in the digital age (SELFIE): relevant for adult learning?

by Simon BROEK
Language: EN
Document available also in: DE HU HR EL CS

/en/file/selfie-toolSELFIE tool



Simon Broek looks at SELFIE – a tool for schools to reflect on how ready they are for the digital age – and talks about its possible implementation in the adult learning sector.


SELFIE is a tool for schools to reflect on how they embed and use digital tools in their organisation and learning process. This tool was launched in October 2018 and is available in all official EU languages. It can be used worldwide by primary, secondary (general and VET) schools and post-secondary non-tertiary education institutions. More than 150,000 school leaders, teachers and students have already taken part.


Covering different areas where digital could play a role

The tool looks at a number of thematic areas based on the conceptual framework for Digitally Competent Educational Organisations (DigCompOrg).

  • Area A: Leadership. This area relates to the role of leadership in the school-wide integration of digital technologies and their effective use for the school’s core work: teaching and learning.
  • Area B: Infrastructure and equipment. This area is about having adequate, reliable and secure infrastructure (such as equipment, software, information resources, internet connection, technical support or physical space). This can enable and facilitate innovative teaching, learning and assessment practices.
  • Area C: Continuing professional development. This area looks at whether the school facilitates and invests in the continuing professional development (CPD) of its staff at all levels. CPD can support the development and integration of new modes of teaching and learning that harness digital technologies to achieve better learning outcomes.
  • Area D: Teaching and learning. Using digital technologies for more effective learning means updating and innovating teaching and learning practices.
  • Area E: Assessment practices. This area relates to measures that schools may consider in order to gradually shift the balance from traditional assessment towards a more comprehensive repertoire of practices. This repertoire could include technology-enabled assessment practices that are student-centred, personalised and authentic.
  • Area F: Student digital competence. This area relates to the set of skills, knowledge and attitudes that enable the confident, creative and critical use of digital technologies by students.


Tailored approach

In the tool, a coordinator can edit and change the questionnaires used for self-reflection. The coordinator can also invite school leaders, teachers and students to take separate tailored questionnaires to reflect on how ready the school is for the digital age. The results can be seen in real-time.

The following video provides a nice presentation of the tool:


Can this also work for adult learning providers?

The short answer is – not at the moment. Some parts of the SELFIE tool, however, can be relevant to some adult learning providers. SELFIE includes specific questionnaires for post-secondary, non-tertiary education providers, and some of them can be adult learning providers. Furthermore, the European Commission is currently exploring the possibility of adapting the SELFIE tool for work-based learning. This could mean potential updating of the terminology used (e.g. ‘trainers’ instead of ‘teachers’) as companies need to be able to participate in the self-reflection, and covering additional topics.


Adult learning providers and digital

When adult learning and digitalisation are discussed (on or outside EPALE), people focus on how digital tools are integrated in the delivery, how distance and blended learning by means of ICT are impacting adult learning, how digital learning replaces face-to-face learning, and how to ensure that learning remains accessible for all.

What is not really discussed however is how adult learning providers and the organisation of learning are changed by digitalisation and ICT.

The impact of ICT on all aspects of society cannot be underestimated. Entire professions and business models disappeared and others emerged. How does this work in adult learning? I am not completely sure. What I do know is that adult learning providers are also affected positively and negatively by digital tools and ways of working. Just like primary and secondary schools, adult learning providers need to prepare for the digital age and could benefit from a self-reflection on this topic.

Explore SELFIE and let us know whether it would be relevant for adult learning as well. What needs to change to make it applicable?


Simon Broek has been involved in several European research projects on education, labour market issues and insurance business. He advised the European Commission, the European Parliament and European Agencies on issues related to education policies, lifelong learning, and labour market issues, and is Managing Partner at Ockham Institute of Policy Support.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Epale SoundCloud Share on LinkedIn