Big Gaps Between Perception and Reality of Digital Skills Found According to New ECDL Foundation Report
New research by ECDL Foundation confirms that people consistently overestimate their digital skills. The latest edition of the Perception and Reality report, published this week, brings together research from five countries in Europe, as well as Singapore and India. Significant digital skills gaps exist in all of the countries featured in the report, including among young people.
ECDL Foundation originally published the results of studies carried out in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Switzerland in a position paper on digital skills in Europe in 2016. Each study asked participants to assess their digital skills, then used a practical evaluation to find out their true digital skill level. In 2017, the research was conducted in Singapore and India by ICDL Asia, with the results confirming and reinforcing the European studies.
The key finding is that self-assessment is a poor measure of digital skills. To gain a real understanding of a person’s digital skills, a diploma or certificate is necessary. In addition to this, the study also provided an insight into the skill levels of different groups in society. Notably, despite the widespread assumption that younger people instinctively understand technology, practical testing showed no digital skills advantage for younger age groups.
Damien O’Sullivan, ECDL Foundation Chief Executive, said, “This paper shows how widespread the problem of people lacking essential digital skills is. Even in highly developed digital societies, this research shows that too many people don’t have vital skills for the workplace, and even more worryingly, they don’t know the extent of the problem. This paper makes a strong argument for structured training and certification of digital skills, so that we can ensure that everyone is ready to take full advantage of the benefits offered by technology.”