Everything is digital. Communicating, learning, excelling. Everything. The world is full of digital stimuli. Find out how we in higher education can together contribute to the digital competence and skills of current and future professionals. We say yes to digitisation. Will you too?

#Sayyes is a campaign of the Strengthening digital human capital zone. The campaign focuses on digital competence and the importance of teaching digital competencies to current and future professionals in higher education. What are you saying yes to? Read on!

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Why do we say yes to digitisation?

The demand for digital competences in almost all professions is increasing, regardless of the sector. It is time for higher education and the professional field to join forces and integrate digital competences into education. Why is this important? Below are two examples.

Example 1 Nurse

This is Floor. Floor is a nurse. She too needs digital competences for her profession. She processes patient statuses in the electronic patient record (EPD). She understands how this digital information is structured, what information she needs to add and she knows the value of this. She learned this during her education and now applies it in her work.

Example 2 Lecturer

This is Sam. Sam is an English teacher. During his university education, he learned the role of digital competences in teaching and learning a foreign language. Now he uses his own digital competences to teach his students the same. For instance, he teaches them English through apps – think songs through Spotify. Contemporary and refreshing for the students.

Do you recognise these questions?

Question 1: Which digital competencies are relevant in my field of study?
Yasmine, History education coordinator

Answer: The word digital quickly brings to mind technology and IT. But it goes further than that. Every profession has to do with digital information. You can use the Digital Competence Indicator to find out in what form digital competencies should be incorporated into your educational profile. The pillar helps you to draw up new (digital) competencies for the History discipline. In this way, you can make your study programme future-proof.

Question 2: How do I implement digital competencies in the classroom?
Marion, Lecturer in Law

Answer: There is indeed a gap between a profile on paper and the practice of teaching. This is why we developed the Lesson Design Guide. This tool will help you choose attractive interactive teaching methods that fit in well with the digital competencies you want to teach your students.

Question 3: How do I include digital competencies in my lessons when my own are not good?
Benjamin, art teacher

Answer: Our Work format guide offers you all kinds of possibilities for work formats. These optimally combine your experience as a teacher and coach with students’ naturalness when it comes to technology. By the way, digital competencies are not so much about techniques and tool knowledge, but mainly about digital information. For example: how do you evaluate qualitative information, how do you add something, who uses it, and how do you communicate in the right way? Much more than technology alone.

Question 1: I grew up in a digital age. I play games and use my laptop every day. Am I not already digitally competent?
Samuel, student 

Many students already know how to work with technology and tools. And you will also master new technologies and interfaces more easily than people from previous generations. But do you know what lies under the ‘bonnet’ of all kinds of games, apps, machines and tools? Why do they work as they do? What digital information is involved and where does it come from? Why do you get to see certain information and others do not? In general, but also specifically in the field, you are studying? In short, it goes beyond apps, tools and technology. Digital information is everywhere, whether you become a language teacher, a nurse or an economist. In short: #Sayyes!  

Question 2: My internship supervisor asked me: how digitally future-proof are you? To be honest, I had no idea what he meant.  

Bart, student

Answer: future-proofing has to do with your digital competencies: what can you do with digital information? Can you find what you are looking for and create valuable digital content yourself? Do you know who you are doing it for and how to reach those people? Do you know, for example, how blockchain works or how the location facilities on your phone work? And for you as a student: how does digital information work in your future field? What is out there and what contributions can you make to that digital landscape? 

All these activities fall under digital competencies. These competencies are addressed in your education, but also in the work you do (later). How do you make this visible? With the Scan that we are going to develop! With it, you will know exactly how digitally competent you are.

Question 3: How do I learn about digital future-proofing from teachers of an older generation?   
Samira, student 

Answer: As a younger generation, you work more and more easily with new apps and tools than the previous generations. Often, you also learn to use new technologies more easily. But digital future-proofing is much more than just being able to use a tool. It’s also about the digital information under the ‘bonnet’ of those technologies. And about how you can make a valuable contribution to them, now and later. Your work will always change.  

But what will that look like in your future profession? That is what your lecturers – of whatever generation – know a lot about. The field, the landscape, the depth and the nuances. They help and guide you to put your young state of mind to good use so that in the future you can add wonderful new things to the digital world of your profession.  

Question 1: I have a trainee in my team. I don’t know what digital competencies this trainee has. How can I see the digital competencies relevant for us in the internship assignment?
Mehmet, team manager

Answer: With the Highway Patrol tool, you draw up an internship assignment together with the student and the internship supervisor from the study programme, in which the digital competencies – needed by your company – are visible. The tool is based on the Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (EC). You work with the same competencies as the trainer, so there is agreement on what can be tested and evaluated.

Question 2: I am looking for graduates and young workers for our company. I want to know what digital competencies they have. Then I will know immediately whether they are a good fit for the company, or whether we need to ‘upskill’ them. How can I make a good match?
Demi, recruiter

Answer: Indeed, we often notice that there is a gap between education and the professional field. This gap exists because there is no agreement on what digital competencies exactly are, what they look like and which are important in a certain field.

We want to close this gap with the Digital Competence Indicator. The basis for this gauge is the Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (EC). With this gauge, you can compare job profiles with the digital competencies from this Framework.

The trainer uses the same Digital Competence Indicator, creating a single language that you both speak. Because you use the same language, you can see at a glance whether there is a match between a job and a graduate. This ‘language’ of digital competencies thus forms the basis for Lifelong Learning.

Question 3: Can I collaborate with an educational institution to employ students in my company to strengthen each other’s digital skills?
Mariëlle, freelancer

Answer: A hybrid learning environment is probably a good solution for you. In such a hybrid learning environment, the labour market, education and the student work together on digitalisation issues in as integrated a way as possible. The aim is to offer practical challenges that are as realistic as possible. If you want to set to work in such a hybrid learning environment, complete the Start, Connect and Check tool. This will give you the right recommendations and get you started!

Project I am digitally competent

The project I am digitally competent focuses on the development of digital awareness and digital competences in students. So that they can move on to the work field or professional domain as future-proof young professionals.

Curious about the project? Read more about the products below, go to the project page or download the powerpoint about I am digitally competent (Dutch only).


Human capital zone

The Strengthening digital human capital zone works to develop digital skills in higher education with a focus on digital transformation, so that students are trained to be sought-after professionals and professionals can continue to develop.

Digitalisation is changing society at a rapid pace. With it, the expectations and demands of employers and society are also changing. As a zone, we ask the field of work and education the question: what is needed to train students and professionals to become digitally proficient professionals?

#Sayyes to other projects of the Acceleration Plan

Within the Acceleration Plan, we do much more – we work on the opportunities that digitisation offers to higher education in various themes. Our knowledge bank is full of products, publications and projects that all revolve around educational innovation with ICT.  Below, we highlight four products for you.

Go to the knowledge base for more

Microcredentials Pilot

Open educational resources workshop

Continuing education is important for training digitally competent professionals. It is in line with Lifelong Learning: to make professionals highly employable on the labour market. The Making education more flexible zone is committed to this, for example with the Microcredentials pilot. Microcredentialing – the breaking down of education into smaller units that are certified separately – gives recognisable value to the Lifelong Learning offer of institutions.

Within the Acceleration Plan, the Towards digital (open) educational resources zone is working on the use and reuse of digital (open) educational resources. How can you inspire your colleagues and enable them to gain experience with OERs? You can do so with the step-by-step plan for the online workshop “Redesigning your education with peer educational resources”. (Dutch only)

Statistical Handbook education data

Field labs for professional development

Do you work with education data in an institution and want to use it in a safe and reliable way? The Secure and reliably use of education data zone has developed the Statistical Handbook education data. The SHS serves as a common standard for statistical tests with education data. (Dutch only)

How do you support lecturers in the innovation and digitalisation of their teaching? That is what the Facilitating professional development for lecturers zone is all about. The field labs are a professionalisation offer around specific digital innovations. Think of digital peer feedback and AI in higher education.

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