Newest Review: ... of fire, how a computer operates but in very basic terms. Word Processing - You will learn how to type a document and to do basic t... more
An excellent IT qualification
The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
Member Name: Pandora321
The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
Advantages: Proves your IT proficiency, meaning no more IT tests at temping agencies - thank goodness
Disadvantages: Does take some time and effort
The ECDL is run through the ECDL Foundation and my employer has a licence from them to run both the basic and advanced courses. I'm keen to do the advanced ones but decided to quickly run through the basic course first - you never know what handy hints you might pick up. The basic course is much cheaper (it was subsidised at my work so only £90 for the entire certificate, which my department paid for as part of my personal development). Each advanced module is £100 through my work, which is quite pricey but I'm hoping I can convince my department to pay again! As I haven't done the advanced modules yet, this review will concentrate on the basic course.
The basic ECDL course covers 7 modules (below). Each is an online course that you can work through in your own time, with simulations of the computer desktop or program that you practise each task on. The program usually shows you how to do a task (such as cutting and pasting, for example) and then you get to practice it yourself in the simulation, with the computer correcting you if you go wrong. Each module is divided into many smaller sections, which makes it less daunting and much more manageable and means you can take regular breaks to rest your eyes (or brain with some of them!). There are also mini-quiz sections where you can practise your new knowledge under test conditions. You can repeat sections, or modules, as often as you like, and then, when you're ready, you sign up and take the large mock-test, which is extremely thorough. You can also take this as often as you like and it is a useful indicator of how you're doing and whether you're ready for the real test - you have to pay extra to re-take the real test so it's a good idea to pass this first time. If you do well on the mock then it's time to sign up and take the actual module exam, which has (depending on module) around 25-40 questions and takes up to 45 minutes.
You can take the seven modules in any order you like, so can start with those you feel most confident about and work up to the more tricky ones. The modules are:
1 - Concepts of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
This is really, really basic computer usage, from why and where computers are used to what viruses are etc. It's quite boring to be honest and you have to remember a lot of random facts that you really don't need to know to use a computer (such as how many MB a zip drive has). Our IT teachers actually recommended doing this module towards the end as it puts people off if they do it first! If you have never used a computer before, however, this would be quite a useful grounding in the basics.
2 - Using the Computer and Managing Files
This covered using the desktop, saving and moving files, backing up documents onto another drive etc. Mostly stuff I do without even thinking by now although, again, it would be very useful for those new to using a computer. For the rest of us it's just a module to work through quickly and get ticked off.
3 - Word Processing
i.e. Microsoft Word. Everything from opening files, saving, formatting text up to mail merging.
4 - Spreadsheets
i.e. Microsoft Excel. Again opening files and saving etc but also using templates and formulae and creating charts.
5 - Using Databases
Microsoft Access. Setting up a database, creating forms, running queries, filtering information etc.
6 - Presentation
Microsoft PowerPoint. Using templates and designs, formatting text, adding images and charts, slide show options.
7 - Web Browsing and Communication
The internet and Microsoft Outlook (email); using browsers and search engines, receiving and sending emails, organising your email folders etc.
The guidelines suggest each module will take around 30hours, but this is really dependent on your current knowledge. I've used computers daily and these programs (except Access) for years so I whizzed through each module in a couple of hours. I did Access from scratch in half a day, but it was quite a major brain drain so I'd recommend taking a bit more time (I had an exam deadline!). Even though I probably could just have gone straight for many of the exams, it's worth working through each module's online course because often you have to do the task a particular way (for example, cutting sometimes required you to use the scissor icon and you could not use CTRL+X or 'edit->cut'). I also learned a couple of handy things I didn't know about, such as the hyphenation option in MS Word, so it was worth working through the material.
Although the course is sometimes a bit frustrating when you can't do a task the way you would do normally (I found this particularly with PowerPoint as I know lots of short cuts that the program would mark as incorrect), overall I think the ECDL is an excellent course both for those who do not know these programs and want to learn them, because it covers everything from the complete basics up in an easy-to-understand format, and for those who know the programs but need to prove it to potential employers. The course was mostly interesting and kept my attention, and did not take very long to complete (I did the whole lot in 3 weeks because my employer was phasing it out, but suspect normally you'd spread it out over a few months). I particularly liked the fact that in the exam you gained points for each part of a question you completed - many I have done before only gave you one mark for up to four tasks and if you couldn't do all four of them you got 0, which is frustrating. In the ECDL you would only lose the point for the final part you couldn't do, which is much more sensible. I think the ECDL qualification is very good value for money, particularly if you can do the course through your work as part of your career/skills development. The only downside is that there is no Mac version for these users.
Summary: A useful qualification to have on your CV
More reviews in the field of Profession / Occupation
- Dreadful course materials, Zero support, but happy to take your cash!
- Software Trainers
- ECDL drive your IT career ahead
- teaching in the u.k
- dinner lady
- Gap Years
- Fell in to caring
- Not for everyone
- You're either a natural with customers or you aren't, its not something you can ...
- An insight into my customer service experiences