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The New ECDL Structure

Having been established as the international standard for ICT skills certification and after 16 years since its successful introduction, the ECDL is now changing to become more relevant, flexible and current. Building on years of experience and implementing suggestions of international experts, ECDL licensees worldwide, organizations and companies, the ECDL Foundation has just launched the NEW ECDL.

You can see the full details of the NEW ECDL STRUCTURE

What is Changing?

The new ECDL is an update of the ECDL programme that focuses on currency and flexibility. New content has been added to the programme to ensure coverage of the digital skills and knowledge required now and in the future. The structure of the programme now offers flexibility, allowing individuals and organisations to develop digital literacy, competence, and expertise in a way that is appropriate to them.


Importantly, this new flexibility gives opportunities to not only engage with new candidates but to re-engage with existing candidates, as they pursue their goal of lifelong learning.


The well known ECDL Core programme is now replaced by the ECDL Standard. To ensure continuity, the concept of the seven modules is maintained. However, the new structure allows the candidate to select from a list of elective modules three of the seven modules.


As part of the new structure the ECDL Core Modules 1 (Basic Concepts of IC), Module 2 (Using the Computer and Managing Files) are replaced by the new module Computer Essentials. The ECDL Core Module 7 (Information and Communication) is replaced by the new module Online Essentials. It is noted that the content of the two new modules retains some of the content of the corresponding Core Modules but the content is also enriched with new, current and more relevant to the technological developments content.


As of 1st September 2013, ALL NEW CANDIDATES will be registered for ECDL Standard only.

ECDL Standard

This is the 7-module certification that comprises of the four newly designed essential modules of ECDL Base (which certifies and individual’s digital literacy), plus three additional modules to develop and certify an individual’s digital competence. In keeping with the established global
standard, this certification retains its 7-module structure but allows candidates to choose modules that reflect their own needs.


To achieve the ECDL Standard certification, candidates can choose those three additional modules that best meet their requirements from the following list:



ECDL Base is a certification of an individual’s digital literacy. It consists of four modules that cover key ICT skills and knowledge areas and are mandatory for all candidates. These four essential modules are:

  • Computer Essentials - essential knowledge and skills relating to the use of computers and devices. This module replaces the ECDL Core Modules and 1 and 2 and includes new content.
  • Online Essentials - knowledge and skills underpinning the use of the Internet to identify and retrieve information, to engage in online activities, and to communicate effectively. This module replaces the ECDL Core Module 7 and includes new content.
  • Word Processing - skills related to working with text in a word processing application. There is no change in the content/syllabus of this module.
  • Spreadsheets - skills related to working with numbers in a spreadsheet application. There is no change in the content/syllabus of this module.


Transitional Period

To ensure continuity with the previous structure of the ECDL Programme and in order to give the chance to existing candidates to adjust to the change, the ECDL Core will be offered to existing candidates until 31st July 2015.

As of 1st August 2015, ECDL Core will not be offered to any candidate.

As of 1st September 2013, all new candidates to the will be registered for ECDL Standard only.

A transitional period between 1st September 2013 and 31st August 2015 is defined. During the transitional period the following arrangements apply for EXISTING ECDL Core Candidates only:

  1. The ECDL Core Programme will be offered  to existing ECDL Core candidates only so as to complete their certification, if they so wish, with the traditional ECDL Core modules. 
  2. ECDL Core Module 1 will be recognized as an elective Standard Module.
  3. ECDL Core Module 2 will be recognized as the Base Module Computer Essentials.
  4. ECDL Core Module 7 will be recognized as the Base Module Online Essentials.

In addition, during the transitional period, EXISTING ECDL Core Candidates only will be able to:

  • complete the seven modules of the ECDL Core and still be awarded an ECDL Standard Certificate.
  • combine modules of ECDL Core and ECDL Standard in order to achieve the ECDL Standard certificate.

It is noted that the ECDL Standard Certificate issued during this transitional period to EXISTING ECDL Core Candidates will show the names of the ECDL Core Modules; namely it will shoe "Using the Computer and Managing Files" (and not Computer Essentials)  and "Information and Communication" (and not Online Essentials).

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