Digital Competence Development at Work


Digitalisation is transforming work and learning, and digital competences are nowadays needed in every vocation. For small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) digital transformation opens promising opportunities to expand and create news businesses. However, developing new skills may sometimes be challenging in every day working settings. Digital competence development is a lifelong endeavour that requires systematic approach to learning at work. Embedded learning and working environments encourage personalised, team-based and organisation level learning, and offer resources for continuous competence development at work.

The Future Work research team (n.d.) of HAMK Edu contributed to the European development project DC4WORK (Work-based learning in a digital age – promoting digital competences for better employability & innovation) in 2017–2019. The goal of the Erasmus+ -funded initiative was to research and promote digital competences, in reference to the EU’s Digital Competence Framework 2.0 (EU Science Hub, n.d.) and continuous learning in small and medium-sized enterprises. There were five countries collaborating on the project: Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany and Portugal. The partners compared their national policies and flagship development projects of digitalisation and applied research of digital competences in SMEs.

On the basis of the study results, the project partners developed an open web-based “Toolbox 4.0” for the use of digital promoters in companies and in educational institutions ( as well as guidelines to support promoters in facilitation of learning digital competences at work. The contribution of Finnish partners focused on pedagogical expertise, for instance, developing learning methods and models for continuous learning at work and facilitating collaboration between educational institutions and companies. The methods included e.g. the development of an open digital badge and a MOOC (massive open online course) for facilitating digital competences. The team also designed “the working model” of digital competence development in companies. The purpose of the conceptual model is to sum up project conclusions and findings and support the future development, training and research planning.

“Learning at Work in a Digital Age” – The working model for planning digital competence development at work (Ryymin, Korhonen, Maetoloa & Lindroos, 2020).


Essi Ryymin, Principal Research Scientist
Anne-Maria Korhonen, Principal Research Scientist
Katja Maetoloa, Educational Developer
Hanna Lindroos, Project Coordinator
HAMK Edu, Häme University of Applied Sciences.


The text is originally published in the article:

Ryymin, E, Korhonen, A.-M., Maetoloa, K. & Lindroos, H. (2020). Digital Competence Development at Work. HAMK Unlimited Journal 6.4.2020.

Further readings:

Korhonen, A.-M. & Ryymin, E. (2020). Redesigning Learning at Work – Experiments of “Digital Competence Facilitator” MOOC. HAMK Unlimited Journal 21.4.2020.



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