European Computer Driving Licence

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The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), also known as International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL), is a computer literacy certification programme provided by ECDL Foundation[1] a not-for-profit organisation.

ECDL / ICDL certification is a globally recognised information and communication technology (ICT) and digital literacy qualification.[2] Other than the name, there is no difference between ECDL and ICDL and they are recognised as equivalent.[3] In 2013, the ECDL Foundation announced that over 13 million people in over 100 countries had registered to use the system.[4]

In 1995, the ECDL certification programme was developed through a task force of the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS) and was recommended by the European Commission High Level Group, ESDIS, to be a Europe-wide certification scheme.[5] In the UK, it is used by the National Health Service as the benchmark IT qualification and as such it is available without charge to all staff.[6]


New ECDL / ICDL[edit]

ECDL European offers three learning profiles comprising various modules:[7]

  • Base (Computer Essentials, Online Essentials, Word Processing and Spreadsheets);
  • Standard (Presentation, Using Databases, IT Security, Online Collaboration, Image Editing, Web Editing, Project Planning, 2D Computer Aided Design and Health Information Systems Usage);
  • Advanced (Advanced Word Processing, Advanced Spreadsheets, Advanced Database, Advanced Presentation).

The modules are individually certificated.[8]


In order to take the tests, a candidate buys an ECDL Skills Card, which usually is issued electronically and serves as a login to the testing platform. To prepare for a module test, the candidate may use ECDL diagnostic tests.[9] Testing is done using software which simulates the Windows/Microsoft Office environment. The candidate's mouse movements and keystrokes are monitored and the result of the test is reported immediately after the test is completed.[2]

Original ECDL / ICDL[edit]

Until 2013 the ECDL/ICDL syllabus was divided into seven modules.[2][10] These are:

Additionally, there was an Advanced version that was divided into four modules. These are:

  • Advanced Word Processing
  • Advanced Spreadsheets
  • Advanced Presentation
  • Advanced Database

Many training centres used Microsoft software (the applications used are shown in parenthesis) but other software environments could be used, such as Apache OpenOffice/LibreOffice.


  1. ^ "ECDL Foundation". Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "European Computer Driving Licence". UCL Information Services Division. University College London. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Poulter, A.; McMenemy, D. (1 January 2004). "Beyond the European Computer Driving Licence: basic and advanced ICT skills for the new library professional". IFLA Journal 30 (1): 37–46. doi:10.1177/034003520403000107. CiteSeerX: 
  4. ^ "New ECDL Launched". News archive. ECDL Foundation. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "eEuropeTargets 2001/2002". European Commission. 2 July 2007. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  6. ^ Townley, S. A. (November 2004). "European Computer Driving Licence". Anaesthesia 59 (11): 1145–1145. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2044.2004.03989.x. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "New ECDL". ECDL Foundation. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Certify your Skills in 4 easy Steps". How we Certify. ECDL Foundation. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  9. ^ ECDL site with all diagnostic tests
  10. ^ "ECDL/ICDL Syllabus version 5.0" (PDF). ECDL Foundation. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 

External links[edit]