IEEE SA Taking the Lead for Industry Standards for Digital Skills
Karen McCabe, Senior Director, Public Affairs and Marketing, IEEE Standards Association
In September 2018, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) partnered with the DQ Institute and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in association with the World Economic Forum (WEF), in the launch of the Coalition for Digital Intelligence (CDI). CDI is a cross-sector cooperative network of organizations from around the world that aims to improve global digital intelligence by coordinating efforts across educational and technology communities through multi-stakeholder collaborations. Under the CDI, and working collaboratively, the DQ Institute took the lead on the development and refinement of the DQ Framework, IEEE SA leading the global standardization of the DQ Framework, OECD engaging with global educational stakeholders for adoption of the Framework and WEF working to advance global coordination while promoting multi-stakeholder collaborations.
In its work to set a global framework for digital intelligence—which includes a common set of definitions, language, and understanding of comprehensive digital literacy, skills, and readiness that can be adopted by all stakeholders worldwide, including national governments, educators, technology companies, and service providers—the CDI partners have made great strides. These include the launch on 22 March of the DQ Institutes Global Standards Report 2019: Common Framework for Digital Literacy, Skills and Readiness, as well as initiation of preliminary work under the IEEE SA to develop an IEEE global standard for Digital Literacy, Skills and Readiness.
As technology advances at unprecedented speed, there is an urgent need to empower individuals with a new form of digital competencies that can help them become ready for the rapid advance of autonomous and intelligent systems and other digital technologies in the near future. Millions of dollars are being invested in “digital literacy,” “digital skills,” and “digital readiness” programs across different sectors and countries. Nevertheless, such efforts have limited coordination and are uneven across covered topics due to the lack of a globally shared understanding and framework for digital competencies and standards. A global standard that standardizes a framework that addresses digital literacy, skills, and readiness at the intersection of identity, use, safety, security, emotional intelligence, literacy, communication, and rights can be highly beneficial for stakeholders in both educational and technology communities by enabling stakeholders to work synergistically rather than discretely to address similar sets of problems and by allowing the coordination of efforts both within and across sectors.
Having global standards that set common indicators for more comprehensively and collectively understanding the existing challenges that digital skill-promoting efforts face and a common language is foundational to ensuring that digital literacy and competency efforts are coordinated globally and moving in the right direction.
I encourage you to read the DQ Institutes Global Standards Report 2019: Common Framework for Digital Literacy, Skills and Readiness and to learn more about and get engaged in IEEE SA’s efforts underway that are addressing Digital Literacy, Skills and Readiness, including its Digital Literacy Industry Connections Program.
Karen McCabe is a Senior Director of Technology Policy and International Affairs at IEEE, where she leads efforts to build and connect communities working in the technology policy ecosystem and where her focus is on the development and promotion of collaborative strategies that produce impactful outcomes among mulit-stakeholders to help advance technology for society and humanity benefit. Karen has over 20 years experience working at the nexus of mission-driven organizations, industry, NGO and government bodies to raise awareness, to educate and build capacity among stakeholders in the technology sphere.