Digital literacy is a basic competence within key competences, as they are understood in Europe. The core team of the SIAE, which is responsible for literacy and consequently competences, has in the past created and implemented action research to form descriptors for this basic competence.

What does digital literacy entail?

In order to reach in-depth understanding of the meaning of the term, we considered numerous expert research studies, also including external specialists, very experienced practitioners.

“Digital literacy is the basic capability of an individual to navigate the digital world. Digitally literate individuals know and use digital devices and gadgets, understand the laws of the digital social environment, and can navigate it.”

A narrower set of general and concrete descriptors, introduced in a special publication (in Slovenian), was selected from an initial set of 97. We found that digital competency – much like other key competences – has core descriptors that clearly express the crux of the competence, as well as peripheral descriptors that can be similar, or even the same as the descriptors of a different competence. Digitally literate individuals know and use digital devices and gadgets, such as computers, smartphones, and online tools, which they can synchronise and update, and which are used for personal needs, while at the same time being skilled enough to be able to easily perform their jobs with these skills and knowledge. Individuals can use digital technology to search for and manage data, communicate in different ways, and perform different tasks. They can use various mobile apps and computer programs. They can choose the correct way to accomplish an objective and can separate the real from the virtual. They understand the laws of the digital social environment and can navigate it. And to put it clearly: Digital literacy in everyday life means that individuals can, for example, download a suitable game on a tablet for their child, share nice photos from holidays with their friends, independently shop online, etc.

Through this, we can help adults with poor digital literacy competence to improve in this area. They can become more confident and critically thinking users of ICT.

Dr Petra Javrh (, SIAE

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Published by Slovenian Institute for Adult Education (SIAE), Šmartinska 134a, SI-1000 Ljubljana | Editor-in-chief: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc (E: | Editor: Ana Peklenik (E: | Other members of the editorial board: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, dr Nataša Potočnik, Directress of SIAE, dr Tanja Možina, Tanja Vilič Klenovšek, MSc and dr Tanja Rupnik Vec | Computer solution: Franci Lajovic (T: 01 5842 555, E: | Translation/proofreading: Mesto znanja, izobraževanje in svetovanje za osebno rast, Petra Cvek, s. p.  | Design: Larisa Hercog | Corrective reading: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, and Mateja Pečar | W: