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ECDL European Computer Driving LicenceECDL

The ECDL is a set of seven tests that states that the holder has reached an internationally accepted standard in basic IT skills. It is based on a common European syllabus. The objective is to improve basic knowledge and raise the level of competence throughout Europe. It is designed specifically for those who wish to gain a benchmark qualification in computing and to enable them to develop their IT skills.


The ECDL syllabus is designed to cover the key concepts of computing, its practical applications and their use in the workplace and society. It is broken down into seven modules, each of which must be passed before an ECDL certificate is awarded.

  • The basic concepts of IT
  • Using the computer and managing files
  • Word processing
  • Spreadsheets
  • Database
  • Presentation
  • Information and Communication

When a Candidate registers to start the ECDL certification process they receive a Skills Card on which the progress through the seven tests is recorded. When all seven modules are completed, the Candidate receives the ECDL. The Syllabus is unique in that it has been designed to be entirely vendor-independent (independent of application packages). Modules 1,2 and 7 can be taken as BCS level 1 and is accepted as certification of a basic IT proficiency.

The syllabus is available as a pdf file and sample tests are available on the ECDL web site / syllabus pages.
A pdf file with information and some examples of tests from the ECDL site is available from here. The references in this are meant to go with the set of work files that would be downloaded from the previous link (sample tests).

There is an advanced ECDL although you have to have taken the ECDL first. See the EDCL home page for details.

ECDL and the NHS.

The NHS adopted the ECDL as a reference for basic IT skills in 2001. It is being heavily promoted and all staff are being encouraged to participate in training courses as a method to elevate the overall quality of IT literacy. About 1 in 10 NHS staff are currently working towards IT qualifications and every 2 mins an NHS worker takes an online test. Estimates of time saved with basic users after training is from 25 - 35 mins a day and with an increase in confidence and positive attitude about IT systems from 30% to 75%.

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