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Digital education

Digital Capabilities Project

8 November 2016

Heres the first blog in a new series from some of our Education Innovation Fund projects – We’ll be following the exciting work happening on some of the learning technology projects. This week, we’ll hear from Matt Smith on Digital Capabilities:

As the eLearning Project Manager for the Wales Centre for Professional Pharmacy Education (WCPPE), I’m passionate about ensuring our staff and students are equipped with the digital skills they need to succeed. So I’m excited about the funding I’ve received from Cardiff’s Education Innovation Fund which will enable me to investigate how we can support the development of digital capabilities at Cardiff.

Before we go any further, let me take a moment to explain what I mean by ‘digital capabilities.’ JISC sees digital capabilities as an extension of digital literacies, which they define as “those…which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society.” (JISC, 2014)

JISC have identified six overlapping elements to build a Digital Capabilities Framework and they have since developed several capability profiles based on these. They have proposed that a basic proficiency against each of these capabilities is essential to operate successfully in the digital world.


Source: Jisc (2016)

So how can we use this?

Well, the Digital Competencies Framework provides a structure to support the development of competencies for both individuals and institutions. As a project, we plan to use the Framework to review the digital capabilities needed by our staff in Pharmacy in order to operate effectively in the digital landscape.

So what will we be doing over the next year?

We’ve already looked at what has been achieved previously to develop digital skills in the context of enhancing teaching and learning. This will ensure we learn from other pieces of work in this area. For example, the work on Digital Capabilities by JISC builds on previous Digital Literacy projects undertaken by HE institutions, including Cardiff’s very own Digidol Project.

We’ll assess where we are now – the level and range of digital capabilities that  Pharmacy already have and where there may be areas for improvement. We plan to work closely with JISC on this. We’ll be testing their Digital Capabilities diagnostic tool which will enable users to evaluate their own digital skills and receive targeted advice on areas for improvement. You can read about this here if you’re interested in finding out more.

Next, we’ll be looking to identify the skills we want our staff in Pharmacy to have. This will form the development of a draft CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Framework that can be used as a pathway to guide the personal development.

Finally, we’ll test the CPD Framework that we develop for Pharmacy, as well as getting feedback from other parts of the University via our Working Group.  I’d like to develop a matrix of key capabilities with a pathway you work along in order to develop your own digital skills.

Our ultimate aim is to equip people with general digital capabilities that they can then apply to a range of situations, enabling people to problem-solve independently.

Over the next few months, we’ll be drafting the framework and developing the academic support that falls out of this so check back on the blog for updates on our progress. And if this sounds like something you’d like to be involved with, just drop me an email:



JISC. (2014). Developing Digital Literacies. Available: Last accessed 28th Sept 2016.

JISC. (2016). Building Digital Capability. Available: Last accessed 28th Sept 2016.


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