Using Online Learning Tools to Improve Digital Skills

Using the SELFIE Online Job Skills Platform to Improve Digital Skills

Using Online Learning Tools to Train Digital Teamwork in a PE

Keeping one’s digital skills up to date is always important in a work environment. Employees need to recognise where their digital competences need to be improved or updated. Employers need to support their employees with their digital competence development.

PE is the ideal environment for self-development and to keep up to date with digital skills. Trainees can try out new digital tools and focus on the digital skills where they need improvement or updating without fear of making mistakes.

Some of the best resources to make use of for increasing digital skills are online resources that teach you, especially if they have interactive tools to help you learn. Learning digital skills is great – but if you don’t continue to use them, you won’t be able to keep up with the newest developments. There are many good online learning tools out there that can help you keep up with current tech trends, which is a key component in maintaining your digital skills over time

Digital learning is a lifelong process. As technology changes and adapts, so must our digital skills. Being able to keep up with technology is key to maintaining lasting digital literacy. 

Your goal is to help your Practice Enterprise set up a digital skills toolkit that can be used to find, evaluate, and use online resources for competence recognition and building digital skills.

  1. Using the SELFIE online job skills platform, survey your trainers and fellow trainees to gather their opinions and views on the application of digital technologies in the PE.
  2. Use the SELFIE survey results to generate a ‘snapshot’ SELFIE report.
  3. The SELFIE report can then be used to create a Digital Skills Toolkit. The Toolkit should include examples of web-based learning resources, activities, guides for the digital skills needed to succeed in PE.
  4. Toolkit ideas include online resources for learning online communication tools, online digital media, Office 365, online collaboration tools, technology links for learning and online skills development resources.

SELFIE (Self-reflection on Effective Learning by Fostering the use of Innovative Educational Technologies) is a free tool designed to help embed digital technologies into teaching and learning. SELFIE can help your PE make informed decisions by reviewing and continuously improving how digital technologies are used for learning digital skills in the PE

Using the SELFIE report, your PE will be able to target which online learning resources are right for you and your fellow trainees. Online learning platforms provide quick, practical training, which can lead to certifications that can be added to online profiles and CVs.

Take advantage of the SELFIE online job skills platform to build a toolkit with links to online digital skills training resources for digital skills used in PE. 

Check out SELFIE for work-based learning (WBL), a free online tool for Vocational Education and Training (VET) schools. It will give you some great ideas and links to resources.  

Access to the SELFIE online resources is offered free of charge to anyone from your school through the support of the European Commission.


  • Determining what your school and PE currently offer and where there can be improvement for online skills learning.
  • Determining what resources exist to help you build your digital skills.
  • Building a toolkit of online digital learning resources.


  • Learning to learn digital skills.
  • Competence recognition
  • Building and using an online toolkit
  • Using digital tools to improve digital skills. 


  • Inclined to use appropriate digital tools for fostering collaboration in the PE. 
  • Proactive about using free online resources and digital technologies for learning digital skills in the PE.

Using the SELFIE online job skills platform to determine how your PE can best determine and find resources for online learning tools will push you and your fellow trainees a step ahead of your peers for digital skills development.

Great teamwork relies on well organised processes, proactive communication, collaborative sharing, and effective feedback. To foster communication for remote collaboration, it is important to create a culture in which trainees and trainers know how to communicate effectively through a virtual learning environment. It is important to have trainees feel that this is not a one-sided experience, but a dynamic one that depends on their involvement

One change could be to move away from traditional channels that support only one-way communication (emails) toward more interactive platforms (Slack, Microsoft Teams/ Google Meet/ Zoom).

The platform itself should be seen as the “playing field” to set up processes, communicate, share as well as to give feedback, and at the same time, be flexible enough for individual working styles. Platforms like Teams or Slack are good examples as they offer not only a wide enough space for different groups and 1:1 chats but also are open enough for integrations with many other tools depending on the needs of the group.  

In a Practice Enterprise environment, the trainees are the ‘employees’ and ‘managers’ of their business. They work in teams undertaking the tasks required by a particular PE department, such as Finance and Purchasing, Administration, Human Relations, and Sales and Marketing.

Each trainee can select or are given a role within the PE based on PE job vacancies. Once this decision is made, they spend time in each department, or in one targeted department. Like real employees, they not only demonstrate their ability to complete a wide range of tasks, but they also learn the importance of teamwork, business communication, goal setting, business planning, time management, and the numerous skills required to improve employability.

In this assignment, trainees negotiate which department and which role they would like to play in the PE team. This is done using the Slack messaging system. Once roles are agreed, the trainees then role-play a PE team meeting via a video conferencing tool such as Zoom (or Teams/Meet) in which they focus on the management plan of their PE and PE members’ roles & responsibilities. With support from the PE trainer, team leaders and members can identify all aspects of the plan and allocate tasks to the most appropriate team members.

  1. Before trainees start using online collaboration tools (Slack, Meet/ Zoom/ Teams), they should read” getting started guides” or watch tutorials. There are numerous materials online on YouTube or Teams, Slack, Zoom, Meet.
  2. Trainees should not only know a technical part of using an online collaboration platform. The social part is even more important. Trainees must know etiquette for remote live meetings.
  3. Trainers play the role of a mentor: motivating, challenging, and supporting the trainees as they take on roles and responsibilities. Initially the trainer will take a strong role in directing and structuring the Practice Enterprise activities.
  4. To have a smooth start, trainees must make sure they can access all tools. Trainers should be aware of student accessibility concerns.
  5. To make online participation on Slack more interactive, trainers should prepare engagement points during the online sessions which allow them to check in how remote trainees are doing e.g., polls or asking a question in the chat (and giving time for responses). Polling tools give all trainees a chance to get involved. They are also useful if votes must be made as in the assignment of negotiating the PE roles. 
  6. On Zoom/Teams/Meet, trainers should use interactive whiteboards or shared documents where all trainees could contribute and present their ideas. 
  7. Most important that trainees can present back their work. It is important to include participation in online events in the PE management plan. There are numerous online trading events, trade fairs and competitions in the PEN Worldwide network where trainees can practice their digital skills.


  • Aware of the meaning of non-verbal messages (e.g., smiley faces, emojis) 
  • Aware of the advantages of using digital tools and technologies for remote collaboration
  • Knowing how to use online tools in a collaborative context to plan and share tasks and responsibilities within a group of teammates.


  • Teamwork skills: learning to build and work in digital teams.
  • Technology skills: learning to use a variety of tools.
  • Planning and collaboration skills: using online learning tools to organise processes, generate ideas, share opinions and feedback.
  • Problem-solving skills: learning to make decisions and overcome obstacles.


  • Encourages everyone to express their own opinions when collaborating in digital environments.
  • Open to using interactive communication platforms for fostering collaboration between the members of a team

This real-world task incorporates practices that trainees will engage in after leaving the PE. Working together through interactive platforms gives a realistic insight into digital teams working, and role playing a specific role can give perspective on how individuals work together in a team.