Supporting your Essential Digital Skills delivery

This last year has highlighted the importance of digital skills for obvious reasons, and whilst the Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2021 has shown an increase in digital activity of 11%, it has also shown that nearly 15 million people still have ‘Very Low’ digital capabilities. To address this gap, the new digital entitlement enables those aged 16+ with no or low digital skills to access new digital qualifications at Entry and Level 1 free of charge. There are now eight Awarding Bodies with Essential Digital Skills (EDS) qualifications approved by Ofqual.

Our mission at the ETF is to support as many learning providers and individual practitioners as possible to roll out Essential Digital Skills courses to enable those who need it to improve their digital skills for life and work. Our CPD programme, now launching for its third year, has a range of opportunities to support you whether you are:

  • A leader or manager responsible for organising Essential Digital Skills provision across the curriculum and upskilling staff
  • A curriculum manager looking for ideas for schemes of work
  • An ICT specialist tutor looking for resources or advice on a particular aspect of the five skills which is challenging to deliver, such as online payments, or who wants ideas and resources to help non-specialist colleagues involved in delivery
  • A vocational tutor who’s been asked to deliver Essential Digital Skills curriculum embedded or alongside an existing course, for example for ESOL learners.

The programme has been structured to take you from introductory overview through to specific skills or pedagogy workshops and provide you with a virtual support network of individuals in the same situation. In addition, there are comprehensive online resources with links to wider resources to help you with all aspects of the five key skills areas and delivery in different contexts. A little more detail is below.

Entry point

The entry point for the programme is our introductory ‘Understanding Essential Digital Skills’ workshop which provides a good all-round overview of the national competency framework, the national standards, the digital entitlement, the new qualifications and the fully funded CPD resources which we are offering to support EDS delivery.

Cascade training support

The next step for those involved in organising EDS delivery, including training up staff, is our two-part workshop on ‘Essential Digital Skills for lead trainers and managers’. These interactive sessions will give you the resources, ideas and support to deliver in-house professional development for your staff responsible for delivering EDS courses and qualifications.

Practical skills development

There is then a range of workshops available on practical skills development to teach specific aspects of the five key skills areas in the national standards – in particular, those curriculum areas that have proved most challenging to deliver such as safe transacting online or creating and editing content. For example, topics such as ‘Five ways to use video to teach EDS’ or ‘Awesome audio – how to capture and save sound’. These include both one-hour in-depth sessions and quick 30-minute “grab-and-go” sessions exploring specific tools, such as online polling or use of screen recording. We know that time is at a premium and sometimes a short, practical session can provide you with some useful inspiration.

How to embed and teach EDS

Alongside the skills-focused sessions, there are also pedagogy-focused workshops looking at how to embed Essential Digital Skills across curriculum areas such as ESOL and English and maths, as well as effective approaches to teaching digital skills for those with no or low digital skills. These workshops build on our recent series of #EDSThoughts from sector leads and practitioners.

Peer-to-peer support

We know that often the most important form of support comes from peers who have already grappled with schemes of work and delivered courses, so the programme includes a number of opportunities to network and collaborate with your peers:

  • Through the online community of practice on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform which hosts a series of sector discussions on key topics
  • Weekly live Q&A sessions which will be hosted by new EDS Champions from the sector
  • Meetups for those working with ESOL learners, in SEND provision, and in prisons and the probation service
  • Face-to-face events hosted by EDS Champions sharing the learning from Reflective Exploration projects which aim to “get under the bonnet” of some of the essential digital skills challenges.

Self-service CPD resources to fit round your schedule

The EDS section on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform features a comprehensive range of online training modules, learning guides and scenario guides which you can undertake at your convenience – starting with a self-assessment which will provide you with a bespoke capability profile and suggested range of training.

Recognition and reward

When you complete training modules on the Enhance platform or complete the self-assessment quizzes at the end of each training module, you receive a digital badge. When you complete the full set of training modules or quizzes, you will be awarded an overall Essential Digital Skills course badge to add to your CPD record.

Fun and games

This year we have introduced an online roleplaying game, DigiVille, which checks your knowledge and confidence in the five key skills areas of the EDS national standards. In the game you play the part of a college tutor specialising in adult education. This year we will be introducing two more scenario games to help you brush up your EDS skills and keep you up to date:

  • DigiWork – if you are mainly working with learners who need to build essential digital skills for work and employability.
  • DigiLife – if you are largely working with adults who need to build essential digital skills for life.

These will be available as a refresher if you have completed the EDS course badge (see above).

Overall, this is a rich and evolving programme which is focused on building a sustainable, practitioner-led support framework for the continuing development of essential digital skills delivery – now so vital for the life chances of our learners. I hope you will enjoy participating.

To access this fully-funded support, please visit our Essential Digital Skills website.

Diagram setting out the Essential Digital Skills CPD offer explained in the article above.

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