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 offers three learning profiles comprising various modules:[7]

  • Base (Computer Essentials, Online Essentials, Wordprocessing 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 the test is completed.[2] Tests initially could only be taken in ECDL approved test centres, however, this rule has been relaxed in recent years with some providers allowing the tests to be completed at home.

Original ECDL / ICDL[edit]

Until 2013 the ECDL/ICDL syllabus was divided into seven modules.[10][2] 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. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  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". ECDL Foundation. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 

External links[edit]