GEM’s Competency Framework: Digital Skills

Acknowledging the increased prevalence of digital technologies in all areas of life and work, and recognising the opportunities provided by them.

The inclusion of a category dedicated to Digital Skills acknowledges the increased prevalence of digital technologies in all areas of life and work, and recognises the opportunities provided by this. This category is separated into four themes:

  • Administration, Reporting & Other Internal Activities
  • Communication
  • Professional Development
  • Resource & Activity Development

Administration, Reporting & Other Internal Activities

The first theme covers the use of digital tools to support and improve the efficiency of various internal business activities such as administration and reporting. Foundation level statements look at the creation and use of digital documents such as word processing files and spreadsheets, and the use of digital storage systems, including local hard drives and online “cloud” storage, to save, organise and share them, with reference to basic data security considerations, guidelines and laws.

Those at Experienced level push us beyond the basic functions of the digital tools at our disposal to further increase the efficiency of our administrative work, and the accessibility of that work to others. There is an additional focus on encouraging and helping others to develop their own understanding and skills in this area. At Leading level, the competency statements look towards developing one’s own skills to more sophisticated levels whilst embedding support, assistance and training for colleagues and critically evaluating specific technologies, services and practices across the learning team and more broadly within the organisation.


This theme relates to using digital tools to communicate effectively and represent your organisation, team and yourself appropriately. At the Foundation level this includes accessing shared cloud storage, an understanding of GDPR, etiquette and ethics of communication, and knowledge of different digital communities and their potential for sharing ideas and collaborating. An understanding of the organisation’s social media protocols is also relevant here.

As individuals progress to Experienced level competency statements they begin to make informed choices about which digital means of communication are best for reaching different individuals or groups, including stakeholders. They also help to contribute high quality social media content to promote activities and stories. At Leading level individuals build and engage with digital communities to promote professional development for others, advocate for the development of new digital technologies within the department in a heritage learning context, and design and deliver high quality learning activities on a digital platform.

Professional Development

This theme focuses on using digital and web-based tools for extending, improving, updating and developing new skills, knowledge and understanding in self and others. At the Foundation level, individuals can use basic functions and search within regularly accessed software. They recognise that digital technologies can improve working practices and access online training and CPD materials as prescribed by their organisation. At Experienced level, individuals are able to instruct others on the use of digital technologies, and encourage their usage to enhance meetings, 1-2-1s and appraisals. They utilise web resources and participate in online networks to enhance their professional development. At Leading level individuals begin to deliver their own online training, or host social media events as well as contributing to the development of organisational vision for digital technologies with reference to current research.

Resource & Activity Development

This theme relates to using digital technologies to design & develop innovative learning resources & activities, and understanding legal and other implications in doing so. At the Foundation level, individuals begin by creating digital resources on word processing programmes, learning how to create PDFs, make basic edits, and showing awareness of accessibility and relevancy for different audiences. As they progress to Experienced level, they develop awareness of Creative Commons, GDPR and branding guidelines, and use digital analytics to collect data and gain an awareness of who their audience is. At Leading level, individuals can demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of software, content & IP licencing requirements and advise others on basic issues, developing new digital formats, technologies and teaching appropriates, and creating rich, accessible digital resources for audiences.


There is no progression from one category to the next, they are all of equal precedence and can be worked on in parallel.

Return to the Competency Framework Home Page to download your preferred version of the document.

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