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e-Assessment Conference. “Meeting Individual Needs”. Garry Cleere Head of Certification Programmes ECDL Foundation Dublin. ECDL - Computer Skills For Life. What is ECDL?.

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e-Assessment Conference

“Meeting Individual Needs”

  • Garry Cleere

  • Head of Certification Programmes

  • ECDL Foundation

  • Dublin

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ECDL - Computer Skills For Life

Whatis ECDL?

The ECDL certifies that the holder has knowledge of the essential concepts of IT and is able to use a personal computer and common computer applications at a recognised level of competence.

  • Test of practical skills and competencies

  • ECDL is a recognised standard for computer literacy

  • Single agreed vendor independent / generic syllabus

  • International Support - computer societies, international bodies, governments

  • Computer society ethos - CEPIS

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ECDL Foundation


  • A not-for-profit global governing body of the world’s leading

  • computer skills certification programme

  • Members - computer societies in Europe

  • Established in January 1997 by CEPIS (Council of European Professional Informatics Societies)

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ECDL Foundation

The Mission

  • Help raise the general level of computer skills in society

  • Establish a global benchmark for core computer skills competency and ICT knowledge

  • Raise the level of ICT skills in the workplace

  • Provide an essential qualification that allows all people to participate in the Information Society

  • Be an inclusive programme, “Open to everyone”

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Τhe ECDL-F Validation Process

Levels of Input

  • CEPIS (250,000 IT Professionals)

  • National Computing Societies

  • Practicing Computing Professionals

  • National Licensees

  • Test Centres / Courseware & Test Providers

  • Subject Matter Experts (SME’s)

  • Specialist Expert Groups

  • ECDL Candidates

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The ECDL Programme Map

Levels of Certification

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Success & Development

Community Snapshot

  • 140 Countries

  • 42 Languages

  • > 5,500,000 Candidates

  • > 20,000,000 Tests

  • > 20,000 Test Centres

  • Multiple Products

    • Entry Level

    • Core V4.0

    • Advanced

    • Specialised


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ECDL Foundation


  • CDL Concept – Finland,launched 1994

  • ECDL Task Force established 1995

    • Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS)

    • Pilot studies using the translated Finnish questions in 4 countries in early 1996

    • The outcome of these pilots was to create an internationally agreed syllabus - version zero

    • An international Working Group was set up to develop the syllabus, based on expert opinion and input from organisations- academic and business  

  • ECDL Launch – Sweden 1996

  • ECDL Foundation - 1997 (10 European countries)

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ECDL Background

Objectives 1995

  • To raise the level of competence in computing for all European citizens

  • To increase the productivity of all employees who need to use the computer in their work and to enable better returns from investments in Information Technology

  • To ensure all computer users understand the “Best Practices” and advantages of using a computer

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ECDL Foundation

ICT Literacy in Europe

  • eEurope Action Plan ‘02 highlighted the need for Digital Literacy

  • ESDIS Committee Oct ’02 recommended that ECDL: “be accepted as a Europe-wide basic IT accreditation scheme”

  • High Level Task Force on Skills and Mobility objective:

    “that by ‘06 all 16 year olds in Member States will have acquire ICT skills”

  • European eLearning Summit May ‘02

    “the EC should build on successful current initiatives (including ECDL) in order to develop and update core digital literacy competence (including higher order skills) for Europe”

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The Need

Measure and Mandate

  • ICT Literacy is necessary for full participation in the Information Society

  • ICT Literacy is necessary as a foundation to participate in eLearning

  • ICT Literacy is the corner stone of Life Long Learning

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ECDL for people with disabilities


  • ECDL as computer literacy "for all"

  • Is this true ??

    What implications :

  • Influence on Syllabus definition

  • Influence on testing

  • Influence on Standards and Procedures

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Who does disability affect?

9.8 million people in the UK have a disability under the DDA. The groups that have specific Issues with web and intranet accessibility are:

  • Vision impairment

  • Hearing impairment

  • Motor difficulties

  • Cognitive impairments and literacy

Many have more than one disability

David Baines – Ability Net

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The Future

Scale of the Issue

  • At least one in four adults is either disabled or close to someone who is.

    • Source: extrapolated from 2000 UK Population Estimates, Office for National Statistics.

  • There are over 6.9 million disabled people of working age in Great Britain. They account for a fifth of the working population. Of these, just 3.3 million are in work (approximately12% of the workforce).

    • Source: Labour Force Survey – using DDA definition of disability and

  • Fewer than 8% of disabled people use wheelchairs.

    • Source: Extrapolation from ONS Report 1995 quoted in NHS Executive

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The Future


“Accessibility is about designing so as many people

as possible can access effectively and easily, independent of who they are or how they access”

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The Need

ECDL PD Project

“The basic philosophy of ECDL-PD is to keep the level of the certificate untouched. The focus is on better tools for training, teaching and learning and optimising the work environment”

Four target Groups

  • Blind and visually impaired

  • Deaf and hard of hearing

  • Cognitive disabilities/ learning difficulties

  • Mobility/physical disabilities

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ECDL PD Project

(P1) Austrian Computer Society OCG

(P2)University of Linz

(P3) MediaLT

(P4) Berufsbildungswerk Paulinenpflege

(P5) Asphi Onlus

(P6) bfi Steiermark

(P7) ECDL Foundation

(P8) European Disability Forum

WP0: Management, Organisation

WP1: Syllabus and Questions

WP2: Teaching and Learning materials

WP3: Accompanying Materials

WP4: Centre assessment

WP5: Evaluation

WP6: Information, Dissemination campaign

T1 Blind and Visually impaired

T2 Deaf and hard of hearing

T3 Cognitive disabilities

T4 Physical disabilities

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ECDL – PD deliverables

Project Deliverables

  • Syllabus and Test evaluation

  • Sample training materials target groups

  • Information materials, check lists,

  • Test Centre assessment

  • Dissemination, awareness raising

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For each target group each knowledge item of Syllabus 4 will

be analysed and where is a need an additional information given

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Launch of Syllabus Version 4.0

Syllabus Version 4.0

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Training Materials




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Course Materials

  • Multimedia, flexible and continuing training program for on-the-job training

  • People with mobility and/or visual impairment

  • Employment in the service provision sector and in helpdesk operations

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Course Materials

  • For the Individual

    • Enhancement of work opportunities, employability and professional satisfaction.

  • For the training organisations

    • Enhancement of quality of training, opportunity for new training services, customer satisfaction and a closer link to the relevant business sector needs.

  • For the service providers

    • Enhancement of their social profile by employing properly skilled and productive PSN.

  • For society

    • Enhancement of equal opportunities for the disadvantaged citizens and, through it, reduction in the required social funds for their support and rehabilitation.

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Accessibility and ATES


  • A special ATES is not desirable

  • True “in application” systems could use the accessibility modes of the underlying software

  • Questions must allow for all answers to be accepted

  • The software must allow for pauses - stop and start the test

  • The software must allow changing the time for tests, by the test supervisor

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Questions for ATES providers

ATES Providers

  • Does the ATES work with assistive technologies? (and if so - which ones ?)

  • Where graphical / image components are part of the question items are alt labels applied in the item so that screen readers will work ?

  • Are all the common short cut keys programmed in the ATES?

  • Does tabbing functionality work in the ATES?

  • Has an appropriate font style and sufficiently large size been used for question item stems in the tests?

  • Is the language easy to understand?      

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Awareness Raising

Academic Papers


  • Crete – HCI - International Conference on Human - Computer Interaction

  • Dublin – AAATE - Assistive Technology – shaping the future

  • Linz – ICCHP - International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs

  • Glasgow - International Conference on Information and IT Literacy

  • Belfast – CAL - CAL03: 21st Century Learning


    International Society for Technology in Education


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ECDL-F PD Working Group

Co-ordinate the activities to ensure that ECDL/ICDL can accommodate people with disabilities

Work with the Syllabus and QTB groups

Ensure Characterisation Test Template (CTT) addresses issues for all methods of testing

Ensure the Quality Assurance is maintained while accommodating the requirements

Work with specific projects, for example the ECDL-PD Project group

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The Future

Future Solutions

  • Action to avoid discomfort

  • Personal Needs and Computing

  • Alternatives to standard keyboard and mouse

  • Understanding accessibility options

  • Inclusive systems

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The Future

Magnification Software

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The Future

Screen Readers

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The Future

Motor Disability Tools

People with motor difficulties face challenges when navigating and interacting with web pages.

Dexterity, fine motor and coordination difficulties can make using a standard keyboard or mouse difficult.

Keyboard and mouse alternatives or voice recognition can be used to navigate and interact with web pages

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The Future

Hand/Arm Adaptive technology

Alternative Pointing Devices

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The Future

Alternative Keyboards

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  • ATES

  • Courseware

  • Disability Agencies

  • ECDL-F PD Working Group

  • - Meeting the Challenge of Computer Skills for All

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Design for All

  • Design for All is more than design for disability. It recognises the rights of all people to barrier-free environments, products, services and systems. People who actively work with Design for All know that the future will prove the wisdom of the decisions they are taking today.

  • Extracted from:

  • http://www.design-for-all.ie/designforall.htm

  • and

  • http://www.design-for-all.info

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    Contact Details

    • Garry Cleere

      • Head of Certification Programmes

      • ECDL Foundation

    • garry.cleere@ecdl.com

  • http://www.ecdl.com