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What is digital literacy and how is it different from information literacy?

Digital literacy includes the ability to find and use information (otherwise known as information literacy) but goes beyond this to encompass communication, collaboration and teamwork, social awareness in the digital environment, understanding of e-safety and creation of new information. Both digital and information literacy are underpinned by critical thinking and evaluation.

What does the DIL framework cover and how is it structured?

For the purposes of the DIL framework, digital literacy refers to the skills, competences, and dispositions of OU students using digital technologies to achieve personal, study, and work-related goals. The framework describes five ‘stages of development’ of digital literacy skills, competences and dispositions and maps them against the ‘levels’ of OU study.

This website allows you to view the Framework in different ways.

View all allows you to view the entire Framework.

The Framework is divided into five competence areas, which can be viewed individually:

Competences for each of the areas identified above have been divided into levels and stages, which can also be viewed individually:

These levels determine the complexity or depth of learning involved, and map to the levels of OU study.

What is the DIL Framework for and who is it aimed at?

The purpose is to provide a common reference point for module, programme, and qualification teams to use in determining markers of progression in digital literacy that can be integrated with other learning outcomes and student attributes.

What do we mean by levels and stages?

The ‘Stages’ of the DIL Framework represent progression in the sophistication of students’ engagement with the digital, both within and outside their OU studies. The ‘Levels’ attempt to capture what students should be able to do by the end of each level of OU study. Stages correspond only very broadly to levels; there may be considerable areas of overlap, and differences in different subject areas. For this reason we recommend flexibility in the way the framework is applied to any scheme for progression.

How do the stages of the DIL Framework relate to the stages of the Qualifications Framework?

The DIL stages can be overlaid on the Qualifications framework, but a prescriptive approach may not be helpful in every situation. The DIL Framework is designed to be interpreted flexibly.

How can the Framework be used by qualification and module teams?

The DIL Framework enables appropriate learning outcomes for digital and information literacy to be integrated into qualification pathways.

Developing digital and information literacy skills can make a strong contribution to employability, for example, by developing collaborative and team-working skills, effective research and information handling skills, and communication / self-presentation in a virtual environment

What supporting materials are available?

The Being digital site contains a growing collection of bite-size learning materials covering the skills in the DIL Framework.

A self-assessment checklist is available from Being digital, to help students focus on which skills they need to develop.

Why aren’t basic ICT skills covered?

The framework pre-supposes that students have, or will acquire, the functional ICT skills to use a computer and carry out basic functions such as using a word-processing package, sending emails and doing simple searches using a search engine etc. at Access stage/Level 0.

What is the thinking behind the DIL Framework?

The framework builds on the existing OU Information Literacy Levels Framework. It also draws on other relevant frameworks, both internal and external. A range of stakeholders from across the OU have been involved in developing the Framework.

Using and reusing the DIL Framework (Creative Commons)

The DIL Framework was created in order to be used within The Open University, and to share with the wider community. Therefore, it is being made available under a Creative Commons licence. This means that it is free to use and reuse, subject to the terms of the licence. For more information, read Using and reusing the Digital and information literacy framework.

Reflecting on skills

Students should be encouraged to record and articulate the value of their digital and information literacy skills and to link them to their personal and / or career goals.

Contact us

For further information, please contact the OU Library Helpdesk