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For Educators and Students

Digital Soft 


Context and purpose of the framework.

The Digital Soft Skills Framework for educators and students has been developed as part of the Digital Soft Skills @Ulysseus (D2S) project, a joint initiative of the Ulysseus European Universities Alliance with co-funding from the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

The overall purpose of the project is to enhance the digital soft skills of both educators and students. To this end, the project will develop a series of outputs, including the D2S framework, a D2S self-assessment tool, and a series of courses for both educators and students to allow them to develop their digital soft skills



A skill is a specific learned ability that one needs to perform a given job well; a soft skill is a non-technical skill that is less rooted in specific vocations. For the purpose of this project, we choose to leave a degree of flexibility in conceptualizing digital soft skills, distinguishing between two key dimensions:

Technological (or “hard”) dimension

Relates to using technology and includes traditional ICT skills.

“Soft” dimension

Relates to social, emotional, and interpersonal effects of using technology.

The D2S Framework

Relies on four key aspects that encompass core digital soft skills, both for teachers and for students. Four categories of skills. In each category we limit our focus to three soft skills that also reflect the degree of fluency/proficiency. We believe that the advanced digital soft skills address the needs of both higher education students and teachers as users and actors of digital education, as well as more broadly as digital citizens. An extra layer – Personal Development – combines both digital education related skills, but also more general digital citizens skills and professional skills.

Developing Me
Acting Now
Engaging with Others
Creating the Future
Three Competencies

Broader Competences

The circle surrounding the four categories highlights broader competences, which are considered as necessary to succeed in any modern education setting, and in which the digital soft skills are embedded, alongside knowledge and attitudes. These are Flexibility in Learning, Reflective Practice, and Intercultural Empathy. An extra layer – Personal Development – combines both digital education related skills, but also more general digital citizens skills and professional skills.

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Flexibility in Learning
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Reflective Practic
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Intercultural Empathy

Digital Soft Skills

For Educators.

The Framework for Teachers adds one further layer of overarching critical teaching practice. Also, the digital soft skills and the three broader competences closely relate to pedagogical competences, such as the ones provided in the European Framework for the Digital Competency of Educators1 or the EdDiCo project2.


Digital Soft Skills

For Students


Developing me

  • Digital literacy

    Information literacy (digital search, analysis, research skills).

    Manipulating and reproducing information (including knowledge of data rights, licencing, open resources, etc.)

    Effectively and ethically using digital information (including research data management for educators).

  • Digital identity

    Being aware of one’s digital footprint

    Creating a successful digital identity 

    Managing a positive digital reputation 

  • Digital well-being

    Understanding the different aspects of digital wellbeing

    Charting one’s personal technology use

    Looking after one’s health in a digital environment

  • Digital safety

    · Including dealing with risks and challenges in digital contexts (e.g. addiction, bullying, etc.)

Engaging with others

  • Digital collaboration

    Working in digital teams

    Finding, evaluating, selecting and using appropriate collaboration tools

    Moderating online meetings

    Managing own and team priorities in digital collaboration

  • Digital communication

    Finding, evaluating, selecting, and using appropriate communication tools and formats

    Communicating within the rules of Netiquette

    Being able to adapt one’s message to different digital media, audiences, and purposes

    Ensuring accessibility and inclusion of all learners
    (For educators)

  • Digital influencing (leadership)

    Engaging and building relationships online

    Negotiating with others in online spaces

    Understanding a variety of perspectives

    Empowering learners through their active and creative online engagement (for Educators)

Acting Now

  • Critical and analytical thinking in the digital space

    Critically analyzing digital sources, information.

    Considering different perspectives, and positions

    Identifying and articulating own position and views in digital contexts

    Using agile working methods to adapt to changes in the learning process (for educators)

    Incorporate teaching and learning activities that boost critical and analytical thinking (for educators)

  • Problem-solving

    Identifying and defining a problem in a digital context

    Developing appropriate options and strategies

    Creatively using digital technologies to solve problems

    Fostering learners' digital problem solving and real-world complex problems(for educators)

  • Creativity

    Thinking about a problem in a new or different way

    Using the imagination to generate new and unique ideas

    Employing digital tools for creative thinking and acting

    Design activities that increase students' creative expression(for Educators).

Creating the Future

  • Digital Citizenship

    Engaging and participating in an (online) community to address issues of public concern

    Using suitable digital media to raise public awareness

    Using suitable digital media to promote important societal causes

  • Digital Skills for Sustainable Development

    Ability to develop a holistic approach to digital and green transition (integrative thinking and practice)

    Envisioning change: critically assessing societal changes and envisioning sustainable futures

    Ability to live together: collaborate and negotiating with diverse groups (trans-disciplinary approach, inter-generational, intercultural, etc.)

    Integrative thinking of economic, environmental and social goals of development (for educators).

  • Design and Future thinking

    Innovation / Design thinking

    Combining tinkering with formal learning of new technologies

    Ability to change and be forward-looking, to develop the currently given situations into other, new and unknown future concepts and to approach them creatively.

    Ability to embrace innovation as an integral part of any organisational subject and process

    Using methods to carry out creative development 

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