2019 saw the publication of Digital 2030: A strategic framework for post-16 digital learning in Wales. This was the culmination of a co-construction process between Welsh Government, Jisc and the post-16 education sector (further education, work-based and adult learning).
clear, nationally agreed standards for digital skills are in place to enable learners and staff to meet industry, private and public sector requirements, building on the digital competences developed during compulsory schooling.
While Digital 2030 was being developed, learning providers highlighted a gap in this area, and asked for a shared set of professional digital standards. Like the Digital 2030 framework, these digital standards have been created in partnership between the Welsh Government, the post-16 sector and Jisc.
A standards framework will give the sector a shared understanding of what good digital practice looks like and the outcomes it can help achieve.Show more
Practitioners can use it to understand their current level of practice and clearly see a pathway to develop that practice further. Managers and leaders can use it as a structure to develop staff skills. It can also help with making decisions that help to move their organisation towards implementing the Digital 2030 strategy.
We have used the existing Professional Standards for Teaching and Learning in FE and WBL in Wales as the framework for this set of digital standards. We did this for several reasons.Show more
There were a number of alternative frameworks that could have provided the basis for the structure of this set of digital standards but using the Professional Standards means that it is in tune with the priority areas of teaching and learning that have been identified by the post-16 education sector in Wales itself.
Usability has been a key focus for the Digital Standards framework. We wanted to create a tool with a familiar structure that is easy to understand. Using the themes from the professional standards helped to achieve this.
At this stage, there are no sector-wide professional standards for support staff, functional staff, or leaders in the post-16 sector, so we have started with practitioners. In future there is scope to develop digital standards for other roles in line with any overarching professional standards, if feedback from the post-16 sector shows that this would be of value.
The structure of the StandardsShow more
Standards should be outcome focused. In other words, it is not enough to say that there is a digital activity that should be happening; each standard needs to be clear about the purpose of the activity. This way, that standards will be relevant. We have written them so that each answer “so what?”. For example:
I use digital platforms and tools (activity) to empower learners to shape their own approach to learning using digital tools (outcome).Show more
The standards are also related to actions. It is possible for a practitioner to provide evidence to show that they have achieved a standard. Phrases such as “I have an awareness about…” or “I understand that…” are not helpful in that regard. The standard needs to describe something that someone has done or said. What evidence is needed to demonstrate achievement of a standard is down to the practitioner and their manager.
The standards should be used by practitioners to encourage reflection, so that they can identify both their strengths and areas for development, as well as how they have met a standard or plan to do so. There will inevitably be cases where certain levels of standards are easier to achieve within certain roles, organisations, or contexts.
Over time, roles change, and new technologies and practices emerge. By being specific about the jobs that people do and the types of technology they might use, we risk creating a set of standards that becomes obsolete quickly. As much as possible we have made each standard statement role and technology agnostic or referred to generic technology types such as “online spaces and communities”.
The use of technology to support teaching and learning is complex. Trying to encapsulate the different levels of performance will always involve compromises but to keep this standards framework usable we have selected a 3-level approach; Exploring, Embedding and Transforming.Show more
|Exploring||Practitioners are developing the fundamental aspects of digital practice. They take on board information and skills that are provided to them. They use digital technologies to replace traditional practices in a “like for like” fashion.|
|Embedding||Practitioners are using technology in a way that makes them more effective or efficient. They seek out new ways to develop their innovative practice, working alone or collaboratively depending on their circumstances.|
|Transforming||Practitioners are using technology to develop entirely new practices that largely wouldn’t have been possible without the use of digital technologies. They act as a role model for others, perhaps offering coaching and mentoring.|
The use of technology to support teaching and learning is complex. Trying to encapsulate the different levels of performance will always involve compromises but to keep this standards framework usable we have selected a 3-level approach; Exploring, Embedding and Transforming.
The basic principle is one of progression. In other words, anyone working at the higher levels (Embedding or Transforming) will also be demonstrating the attributes of the levels prior to that one.
The standards are there to support innovation in teaching and learning in the post-16 sector in Wales. In this case, “innovation” refers to innovation in teaching and learning practice rather than innovation in the technology itself. In other words, a practitioner might be making use of readily available or even “mundane” digital technologies to enable innovative teaching and learning practices. Just using the latest technology is not enough to demonstrate good practice.
The digital standards framework will be most effective when it’s an integral part of organisational efforts to implement the Digital 2030 strategy for Wales, and not used in isolation. They do not need to be used in a prescriptive way, but can be applied selectively to suit particular roles, teams or individuals, as a way of characterising what practices are expected and how they could be improved.Show more
The standards have been designed to be achievable by practitioners while remaining aspirational. There may be instances where achievement of a standard level relies on certain policies, processes or systems being in place that are outside the control of the individual.
As such, achievement of the digital standards is a partnership between practitioner and organisation. It is not expected that every practitioner will meet every standard; rather, the standards are a resource which can be tailored and adapted to reflect individual roles and aspirations, as well as the organisation’s priorities and plans.
Each digital standard includes a section pointing to the most relevant aims and objectives of Digital 2030. This is to help with organisational planning and development, enabling leaders to trace back performance against the digital standards to the intended outcomes of Digital 2030.Show more
The choices made here are open to some interpretation and as such are a guide rather than an authoritative list. Organisations may wish to come up with their own alignment based on their specific context, including their own digital plans and strategies.
Where possible the connection between Digital 2030 and the Digital Standards is at the level of the overall theme or the sub themes, rather than the content of any individual Standard level statement.