According to the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)1 report from 2020, 42% of individuals in the European Union (EU) lacked basic digital skills. The digital skills gap was more pronounced among older adults, low-income households, and those with lower levels of education. These statistics suggest that a significant proportion of adults in Europe may be lacking essential digital competencies. It’s important to note that these numbers will (hopefully) change over time as more individuals gain access to digital technologies and educational opportunities. Additionally, the specific digital competencies that individuals lack may vary depending on their demographic, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The most missing competencies are (the mentioned training courses can be accessed as a guest):
Basic computer literacy
Basic meaning: Understanding how to use and navigate computer systems, including operating systems, file management, and basic troubleshooting.
Missing skills in basic computer literacy often include the inability to operate and navigate a computer, understand the file system, and manage files and folders. Individuals lacking basic computer literacy may also struggle with using essential software, such as word processors, spreadsheets, or web browsers.
Expected skills encompass the proficient use of an operating system, performing basic tasks like creating, saving, and organizing files, and navigating through the computer system with ease. Furthermore, they involve the ability to open, create, edit, and save files using common applications, as well as knowing how to install and update software and troubleshoot minor issues.
Basic meaning: Browsing, searching for information, and navigating websites effectively and safely.
Missing skills in the context of Internet skills can include the inability to effectively search for information, navigate websites, or discern reliable sources. Expected skills involve the ability to browse the web, use search engines efficiently, evaluate the credibility of online sources, and understand basic internet safety practices.
Individuals lacking Internet skills may also struggle with downloading, uploading, or managing online content, and understanding concepts like bookmarks, URLs, and hyperlinks. Expected skills include the ability to manage and organize online content, navigate between web pages, download and upload files, and use essential browser features like bookmarks and history.
This training course, developed in the frame of the project, may help: Use of web tools EN
Basic meaning: Using email, messaging apps, and social media platforms to communicate and collaborate with others.
Missing skills in the context of online communication include the inability to effectively use email, messaging apps, and social media platforms for personal or professional communication. Expected skills involve the ability to compose, send, and manage emails, use messaging apps for instant communication, and engage with others through social media platforms while adhering to online etiquette.
Individuals lacking online communication skills also struggle with understanding the norms, protocols, and best practices for digital interactions, leading to miscommunications or inappropriate behavior. Expected skills include the ability to convey thoughts and ideas clearly in digital formats, adapt communication styles to different online contexts, and demonstrate empathy, respect, and cultural awareness in online interactions.
This training course, developed in the frame of the project, may help: DISK – Module 7 – Digital Communication EN
Cybersecurity and privacy
Basic meaning: Protecting personal information, understanding online risks, and using security measures like strong passwords and antivirus software.
Missing skills in the context of cybersecurity and privacy include the inability to recognize potential online threats, protect personal information, and use security measures like strong passwords and antivirus software. Expected skills involve the ability to identify phishing attempts, use secure connections, create and manage strong passwords, and utilize cybersecurity tools like antivirus software and firewalls.
Individuals lacking cybersecurity and privacy skills also struggle with understanding privacy settings on websites and social media platforms, putting their personal information at risk. Expected skills include the ability to manage and control privacy settings, understand the implications of sharing personal data online, and be aware of best practices for safeguarding personal information in the digital realm.
Digital content creation
Basic meaning: Creating and editing various types of digital content, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and multimedia files.
Missing skills in the context of digital content creation include the inability to create, edit, and manage various types of digital content, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, images, audio, and video files. Expected skills involve the ability to use a range of content creation tools, like word processors, graphic design software, and video editing applications, to produce and edit digital materials effectively.
Individuals lacking digital content creation skills also struggle with understanding file formats, compression, and compatibility between different devices and platforms. Expected skills include the ability to choose appropriate file formats, optimize file sizes for sharing or storage, and ensure that content is accessible and compatible across different platforms and devices.
Basic meaning: Using cloud-based services for storage, collaboration, and accessing applications.
Missing skills in the context of cloud computing can include the inability to use cloud-based services for storage, collaboration, and accessing applications, as well as a lack of understanding of the benefits and risks associated with cloud computing. Expected skills involve the ability to effectively utilize cloud storage solutions, collaborate on documents and projects in real-time, and leverage cloud-based applications for various tasks.
Individuals lacking cloud computing skills may also struggle with managing files and folders in the cloud, sharing resources with others, and understanding data privacy and security implications. Expected skills include the ability to organize and manage cloud-based files and folders, control access and sharing permissions, and be aware of best practices for safeguarding data and ensuring privacy in a cloud environment.
Social media literacy
Basic meaning: Understanding the etiquette, potential risks, and best practices for using social media platforms effectively and responsibly.
Missing skills in the context of social media literacy include the inability to effectively and responsibly use social media platforms, understand online etiquette, and recognize potential risks such as cyberbullying or misinformation. Expected skills involve the ability to navigate and engage with social media platforms appropriately, adhere to online etiquette, and identify and avoid potential risks associated with social media use.
Individuals lacking social media literacy also struggle with managing their online presence, understanding privacy settings, and using social media for personal or professional purposes. Expected skills include the ability to create and maintain a positive online presence, manage privacy settings effectively, and leverage social media as a tool for networking, information gathering, or self-expression.
Basic meaning: Working with others remotely using tools like video conferencing, project management software, and file-sharing platforms.
Missing skills in the context of online collaboration include the inability to effectively use collaboration tools like video conferencing, project management software, and file-sharing platforms to work with others remotely. Expected skills involve the ability to actively participate in virtual meetings, share and collaborate on documents and projects, and communicate clearly and effectively with remote team members.
Individuals lacking online collaboration skills struggle with coordinating tasks, managing deadlines, and providing constructive feedback in a virtual environment. Expected skills include the ability to plan and organize work in a remote team setting, adhere to deadlines, and offer and receive feedback in a respectful and constructive manner to foster a positive collaborative experience.
Basic meaning: Identifying, diagnosing, and resolving technical issues or challenges with digital devices and software.
Missing skills in the context of digital problem-solving include the inability to identify, diagnose, and resolve technical issues or challenges with digital devices and software, as well as a lack of resourcefulness when encountering digital obstacles. Expected skills involve the ability to recognize and troubleshoot common technical issues, seek out relevant resources, and apply critical thinking to resolve digital problems.
Individuals lacking digital problem-solving skills fail with adapting to new technologies, learning new software, or finding alternative solutions when their initial approach does not work. Expected skills include the ability to learn and adapt to new tools and technologies quickly, experiment with different strategies, and stay up to date with evolving digital trends and best practices.
This training course, developed in the frame of the project, may help: DISK – Module 10 – Digital help for daily problems EN
E-commerce and online transactions
Basic meaning: Safely and effectively making purchases, paying bills, and managing finances online.
Missing skills in the context of e-commerce and online transactions cover the inability to safely and effectively make purchases, pay bills, and manage finances online, as well as a lack of awareness of online payment options and potential risks. Expected skills involve the ability to navigate e-commerce platforms, securely enter payment information, and manage online accounts for financial services, while being mindful of potential fraud and security risks.
Individuals lacking e-commerce and online transaction skills run into problems with understanding return policies, tracking shipments, and resolving disputes or issues with online orders. Expected skills include the ability to read and understand terms and conditions, track and manage online orders, and effectively communicate with customer support or dispute resolution services when necessary.
1 Digital Economy and Society Index https://ec.europa.eu/