Digital Capability and Digital Literacy - Part 1: Defining the Digital

The newly released Australian Digital Capability Framework (ADCF) will impact on the requirements of RTOs moving forward as more focus is directed at skilling learners for technological advancements, being driven by the need for industries to be more efficient, cost effective and self-reliant.

Readiness to work is an essential outcome for learners exiting the VET sector and RTOs need to ensure they can prepare new entrants, not just in the specific skills associated with the job, but also more generally in the way they interact with and deliver training to those individuals via digital technologies. 

Defining the Digital

With the rapid advancement of technology, the digital landscape has become an integral part of our daily lives. From smartphones and social media platforms to online learning platforms and digital communication tools, digital technologies have transformed the way we interact, work, learn, and communicate with each other. In this digital era, two terms that are often used interchangeably but have distinct differences are "digital capability" and "digital literacy."


Digital capability refers to a person's level of skill and experience with digital systems and technologies. As described in the ADCF, it encompasses a wide range of technical skills, such as operating devices, using software applications, coding, and troubleshooting. It also includes critical thinking skills, such as evaluating and analysing digital content, problem-solving, and adapting to new technologies. Digital capability goes beyond basic knowledge and proficiency with digital tools, as it also involves understanding how to navigate digital environments, safeguarding digital security and privacy, and being able to critically assess the reliability and credibility of information found online.

On the other hand, digital literacy focuses on understanding the language, concepts, and social norms associated with digital technologies as a sub-set of the digital capability framework. It includes the ability to navigate and search the internet, understand online etiquette, evaluate information for accuracy and relevance, and engage in responsible and ethical online behaviours, such as protecting personal data and respecting copyright laws. Digital literacy also encompasses understanding how different digital platforms work, how they interact with each other, and how they shape communication, information sharing, and social interactions in the digital landscape.

To illustrate the difference between digital capability and digital literacy, let's consider an example of a person who is proficient in using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This person may have strong digital capability in terms of using these platforms, such as posting updates, uploading photos, and interacting with others. However, their digital literacy may be limited if they are not aware of the implications of sharing personal information online or how their data is collected and used by these platforms. In contrast, a person with high digital literacy may be more cautious about sharing personal information online and may have a better understanding of the privacy settings and data policies of different social media platforms, even if they are not as proficient in using them.


TLRG is working on a digital literacy and capability assessment that will be tied to the new Australian Digital Capability Framework. This will be available via the LLN Robot system and will help to identify a learner’s current capability, level of digital literacy and likely methods of suitable engagement with training, assessment, employment and personal growth.

You can get more information and register your interest here.



David Cunning

David Cunning is the General Manager of The Learning Resources Group. He has been in the VET sector for 16 years and has spent more thqn decade managing the creation of training and assessment resources for over 300 units of competency. He was the driving force behind the LLN Robot System of assessing and supporting vocational education students across the country.

Dave has invested himself in understanding the industry by attaining his Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and also a Diploma of Vocational Education and Training and a Diploma in Training Design and Development.

Prior to working in the VET sector, Dave was a psychology graduate and a graphic artist who ran his own independent publishing house.

Outside of TLRG office, Dave was voted the world's greatest dad by a 3/4 majority of his 4 sons. He is an amateur e-sports participator, avid motorcycle accumulator and aspires to be the single largest consumer of 2-minute noodles in the southern hemisphere.