Digital Literacy Training Programme at the National Library of Estonia

At the National Library of Estonia, the digital competence training program aims to make people feel less afraid of using different digital programs, tools and technologies.

Learning and self-development are important at all ages and are increasingly important in today's digital world. The European Commission has stated that “Digital skills are now as vital as literacy and numeracy and Europe therefore needs digitally competent people who are not only able to use but also to innovate and lead in using these technologies.[1]

The European Reference Framework sets out eight key competences, one of which is Digital Competence. All key competences are necessary for employability, personal fulfilment, active citizenship and social inclusion. The key competences are all considered equally important; each of them contributes to a successful life in society.[2]

So, what is Digital Competence?

It involves the confident, critical and responsible use of, and engagement with, digital technologies for learning, at work, and for participation in society. It includes information and data literacy, communication and collaboration, media literacy, digital content creation (including programming), safety (including digital well-being and competences related to cybersecurity), intellectual property related questions, problem solving and critical thinking.[3] DigComp was first published in 2013, as a reference framework to support the development of digital competence of individuals in Europe. It describes which competences are needed today to use digital technologies. DigComp’s five subject areas are:

  • Information and Data Literacy
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Digital Content Creation
  • Safety
  • Problem Solving

You can read about all the subject areas from here:

DigComp 2.1: The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens with eight proficiency levels and examples of use 


DigComp into Action: Get Inspired Make It Happen: A user guide to the Digital Competence Framework

Developing digital skills at The National Library of Estonia

With our digital competence-training program, we are trying to make people feel less afraid of using different digital programs, tools and technologies. In order to develop the digital skills of the staff, we also used the DigComp model, which we adapted to fit our library's needs. The Digital Competence Framework can help with self-evaluation, setting learning goals, identifying training opportunities and facilitating job search.[4]

The Digital Competence Framework can help to monitor employees’ digital skills and to support curricula development.[5] At first, to evaluate staff's digital skills, we conducted digital competence tests.  Tests are based on the same DigComp’s five subject areas. About 240 of our employees participated in the testing (that is about 94% of all employees).

Digital Competence Training Program at the National Library of Estonia

According to the test results, we started developing the Digital Competence Training Program. Similarly, to the competency model, the training program has five modules. Instead of Problem Solving (like in the DigComp model), we added The Basics of the Digital World to our program because we found that problem solving was and should be part of all the subject areas.

  1. The Basics of the Digital World
    1. The Basics of Smart devices (tablets, smartphones)
    2. E-citizen program – computer hardware/software; different programs to use; malware; social media etc. for beginners
  2. Information and Data Literacy
    1. Information Literacy e-courses and face-to-face learning events
  3. Digital Content Creation
    1. MS Office software;
    2. New tools like Canva, Adobe Spark, Poll Everywhere etc.;
    3. Copyright and licensing
  4. Digital Safety and Security (privacy, data protection)
    1. Digital Safety and Security – in collaboration with our IT Department
    2. Privacy, Data Protection – with the help of our Data Protection Specialist
  5. Digital Lifestyle - Communicating in Digital Environments. (Communication, collaboration), including Digital Well-Being
    1. Social media;
    2. Netiquette;
    3. Digital footprint;
    4. E-citizen portal in Estonia; digital signature and mobile-ID.

Each module consists of independent learning, exercises and tests in the e-learning environment Moodle and voluntary face-to-face learning events where problem solving takes place (with the help of tutors).  To create the modules, we made up teams that worked together to create study materials, problem tasks, questions and tests, and to conduct learning events. Teams are made up of library specialists who, in return, get the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in training and develop their competences, for example in the preparation of making a study program.

The training program has helped to improve the knowledge and skills needed to learn new digital environments and to better understand the possibilities of different digital tools. The main purpose of the training is that we all could manage in the digital world without fear of testing and using different tools, programs or digital environments.






Angelica Õunapuu is the Digital Literacy Specialist for the National Library of Estonia.