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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



Acquiring functional basic skills in a digital society: online discussion

by Zsolt Vincze


Welcome to the online discussion on ‘Acquiring functional basic skills in a digital society’ organised by the EBSN EPALE team!

The discussion is open to everyone from Tuesday, November 13th, 10.00 (CET) to Wednesday, November 14th, 17:00 (CET) and is moderated by EBSN Secretary General, Graciela Sbertoli.

We would be very interested to read in this discussion your experiences on the use of digital tools in the provision of initial literacy and numeracy training and of language provision for immigrants. We will aim to identify together common challenges and criteria for success.

NOTE: If your passive knowledge of English enables you to understand the discussion but you don't feel comfortable in answering or commenting in English, you are welcome to use your own language. The moderator will translate your entry using Google translator.


The Capacity Building Series of EBSN provides free open educational resources (OERs) and massive online courses (MOOCs) through EPALE, to help the implementation of the European Commission recommendations on Upskilling pathways in EU Member States. EPALE is funded by the Erasmus+ programme, as part the European Commission’s ongoing commitment to improving the quality of adult learning provision in Europe. The project is implemented with the support of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).
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Viktorija Birjukova's picture
        With the development of new technologies, growth and the amount of information, the term "computer literacy" is equal to the term "new literacy", acquiring new forms and a broader meaning. Information technology proficiency begins to include basic skills for receiving, perceiving, producing and transmitting information. 
              Computer literacy covers all media, including television, cinema, radio and audio recordings, the press, the Internet and any other digital media. The importance of media education:
 • media literacy is important for creating opportunities for citizen participation in community life, 
• Media and information affect:
 - on democratic processes, 
- on the formation of culture, 
 - to use the virtual space. 
      The concept of “digital literacy” as an instrument of information activities went beyond the ability to only use a computer and began to be considered for technological literacy: computer and ICT literacy, and further to the basics of programming and Web design.
Renārs Rapa's picture
My personal favourite digital online tool is a social media page online where the communication happens using postcards sent via e-mail. The page is - The idea is that participants send each other postcards based on their profiles. After the card is received the person writes a thank you note in the web page. Using this correspondence method it's possible to work with authentic matherial, as well as practice using written English. From my experience I can tell that this material sticks for longer in your memory than a comment read online or an exercise in an app. A postcard is more personal and the sender has spent his time to make it. There are endless ways how a teacher can use the postcard in his lessons.
Graciela Sbertoli's picture
Dear all,

The discussion will officially end at 5 pm CET, and will not be moderated after that, but will continue to be open for further comments. Do feel free to continue with your contributions here, please. We will be grateful for all input, especially if it comes with links to further documentation.

Thanks a lot to all participants. Very good to hear from all of you! Your input will be gathered as a base for a unit within the Capacity Building Units collection, which the EBSN is currently working with. The Unit on Digital Skills and Tools will appear before the end of June next year.

Stay tuned!
Gábor Bay's picture
Greetings to All and thank you for sharing so much valuable practices and ideas! I would like to contribute with some information about an EU co-funded Hungarian project called “Narrowing the Digital Divide”. The project aims to boost digital competences through free-of-charge digital literacy training for 260.000 members of the working-age population (16-65). The project put greater emphasis on the involvement of people with ISCED 1-2 qualification (110.000). Since 2016 several private and public organizations are providing basic digital skills program for people having no or very low level of digital skills under the project. The centrally developed two curricula are linked to the 1-2 levels of the single information-communications reference framework (IKER - revised in 2015). IKER 1-2 levels are not formally linked to DIGCOMP 1.0 but aimed to cover level “A”. To tackle early leaving 5 hours of the 35 hours curriculum focuses on catching-up and mentoring. Two additional curricula are being developed for IKER levels 3 and 4 including 15-15 hours of e-learning. All related resources are available in Hungarian free of charge on the website of the National Office of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning:
Graciela Sbertoli's picture
... and many thanks for this interesting presentation! It sounds like a wonderful national initiative. Do you have any documentaton of results? It would be very interesting to gather some response from the course participants. And we would of course all love to have access to an English translation of these curricula. Is this something the Hungarian EPALE NSS might be able to take care of?
Gábor Bay's picture
Normal 0 21 false false false HU X-NONE X-NONE

Thank you for your feedback Graciela! Progress Consult is the developer of the curricula, so we receive only indirect feedback from the participants. As we know they are happy with the content, searching on the web, sending and receiving e-mails, sending text and starting calls through VoIP are topics of great interest (IKER level 1-2).

I have no information of the translation, I have to find that out later on.

Cäcilia Märki's picture
Swiss SMEs located in remote and mountainious areas are supported by a grant of 500.000 Franks for 2019 by the "Schweizer Berghilfe" ( to support their "digital transformation" and competitiveness.

Companies receive a 50% funding for the education and training activites of their employees who are developing their digital skills. Companies may book offers that are provided on the SVEB platform

The initiative has started recently.

Graciela Sbertoli's picture
EU member countries might be able to consider something similar as good use for ESF funding? We will be eager to know more about how this works, as the initiative develops, Cäcilia! 
Cäcilia Märki's picture
This is the first year of the national programm for workplace basic skills in Switzerland. We currently see a lot of workplace basic skills trainings dealing with new demands to use ICT at Swiss workplaces. In many cases internal communication and information is solely organised digitally and companies recognise, that the number of employees not being able to implement the new workflow. Rising demands in the use of ICT on workplaces often lead to higher demands in reading and writing skills.

The Swiss cantons being responsible to implement the promotion of basic skills according to the national law on adult education requested a "framework for orientation" for ICT basic skills. This orientation framework is currently developed by a working group lead by the responsible ministery.
Two major target groups are being identified. The first one is the general population lacking basic skills for everyday live and the second one are people who lack basic skills in an other basic skill such as reading and writing, basic language skills and/or basic maths. "Orientation" is needed for those who decide about who should benefit from public funding.

Best regards from Zürich,
Cäcilia Märki
Swiss Association of Adult Education SVEB