The e-CF has been developed by the Workshop on IT Skills of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), with contributions from a large number of IT and HR experts. The development of the e-CF started in 2005 after recommendations from the European e-Skills Forum that national IT framework stakeholders and IT experts should consider developing a European e-competence framework. With the introduction of Version 3.0 in 2014 the CEN started the process to make the e-CF a European standard.

A competence is defined in the e-CF as a ‘demonstrated ability to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes to achieving observable results’.
Each of the 40 competences in e-CF 3.0 is described in four so called ‘dimensions’:
1. The e-Competence Area taken from a simple IT process model: Plan – Build – Run – Enable – Manage
2. A Generic Description in terms of the behavior showing the competence and the expected contribution at the workplace
3. Proficiency Levels based on a mix of:
• autonomy (from ‘being instructed’ to ‘making choices’) • context complexity (from ‘structured/predictable’ to ‘unstructured/unpredictable’)
• behavior (from ‘able to apply’ to ‘able to conceive’)
4. Knowledge and Skills examples that may be relevant for competence performance as described in dimensions 2 and 3

The e-CF proficiency levels, 1 to 5, are very similar to the levels 3 to 8 of the European Qualification Framework (EQF) used in formal education. For most competences in the e-CF only two or three levels are defined.

The e-CF is published by the CEN IT Skills Workshop as a CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) and consists of four parts:
• Part 1 is the standard itself
• Part 2 contains guidance on the use of the standard
• Part 3 documents how the e-CF was developed
• Part 4 illustrates the application of e-CF in practice by providing 15 case studies

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