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Welcome to the quick guide for new and current students. This guide provides an overview of all the discovery tool essentials to help you get started.

Getting started (logging in)

View our 'how to' video or see the step-by-step guidance below

To login go to

  • Start typing the name of your organisation in the search box
  • Click on the name of your organisation when it appears
  • Select Continue

If your organisation uses single sign on (SSO), you will be prompted to authenticate via this method.

If your organisation isn't using SSO, you will be able to authenticate using your email and password.

  • On the login screen enter your email and password
  • Click login
screenshot of the login page where you add your email and user password

If you haven't used this service before select sign up

screenshot of the discovery tool sign up page where you need to add details such as your name affiliation email and password

  • Enter your first and last name
  • Select your affiliation (student)
  • Enter your email address
  • Create a 8+ character password (include at least one upper and lower case character, one number and symbol)
  • Click sign up
  • Once registered you'll get a confirmation email and link
  • Click on the link to activate your account
screenshot of the confirmation message you receive to confirm you're account has been created

Account setup

  • The first time you open the discovery tool you will be prompted to create an account
  • You may be asked to confirm your role (ie student)
  • You'll then be asked to provide some further information to complete your account setup:
    • You may or may not need to enter your name, based on your method of logging in
    • Select your course level and subject area from the lists below

Course levels

Only one can be chosen from the following 7 options:

  • FE Entry Level (England, Wales, NI) or FE Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 (Scotland)
  • FE Level 1 or Level 2 (England, Wales, NI) or FE Level 4 or Level 5 (Scotland)
  • FE Level 3 (England, Wales, NI) or FE Level 6 (Scotland)
  • HE (Certificate or Diploma)
  • HE (Bachelors or Honours)
  • HE (Masters)
  • HE (Doctoral)

If your organisation has supplied a list of subject areas, you will be able to select from this list. Otherwise you will be able to select from one of these lists.

Subject area selection list

Depending on what organisation you are studying at you will be presented with one of the following subject area lists to choose from. You can only choose one subject area from the list you are presented with, so select the one that you feel most closely relates to the course you are studying.

Further education (FE)/skills subject area list

(Based on high level Ofqual sector subject areas)

  • Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care
  • Arts, Media and Publishing
  • Business, Administration, Finance and Law
  • Construction, Planning and the Built Environment
  • Education and Training
  • Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies
  • Health, Public Services and Care
  • History, Philosophy and Theology
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Languages, Literature and Culture
  • Leisure, Travel and Tourism
  • Preparation for Life and Work
  • Retail and Commercial Enterprise
  • Science and Mathematics
  • Social Sciences

Higher education subject area list

(Based on Joint academic coding (JACS) principal subject headings)

  • Agriculture and related subjects
  • Architecture, building and planning
  • Biological sciences
  • Business and administrative studies
  • Combined
  • Computer science
  • Creative arts & design
  • Education
  • Engineering and technology
  • Historical and philosophical studies
  • Languages
  • Law
  • Mass communications and documentation
  • Mathematical sciences
  • Medicine and dentistry
  • Physical sciences
  • Social studies
  • Subjects allied to medicine
  • Veterinary science

Welsh language

To view the discovery tool content in Welsh, click on the languages icon - you can find this at the top on the Homepage as well as in each of the resource banks

iocon showing 'languages'


Your question sets

Completing the Explore your digital capabilities question set is an opportunity to evaluate your skills across 16 key areas of digital capability.

The questions are designed to help you reflect and get a better understanding of your strengths as well as any areas you might want to develop further.

Once you've completed your question set you'll get a feedback report with resources and next step suggestions on how to expand your skills across the 16 areas.

To start a question set go to the home page and select Question sets and reports for students.

Question sets and reports for students thumbnail from the Jisc discovery tool, the image shows a white icon of a person with a thought bubble on a blue background

You'll find five question sets to choose from:

  1. New Students
  2. Current Students (Higher Education)
  3. Current Students (Further Education)
  4. Digital skills for AI and generative AI
  5. Recognising digital skills for employability

screenshot of the exploring your digital capabilities question set cards for new and current students

If you're just starting your course begin with the New students question set and when you feel ready (or your tutor feels you're ready) take the Current students question set.

There are two versions for current students depending on whether you're in further (FE) or higher education (HE). If you're an FE student only complete the FE version. Similarly, if you're an HE student only complete the HE version.

The questions are either multiple choice or slide bar and you can revisit a question using the previous button.

Multiple choice question

multiple choice

Slide bar question


Each question set takes around 15 to 25 minutes to complete depending on which set you're doing.

Because it's not a test we recommend you take your time to answer all the questions. Although you can exit a question set at any point and pick up where you left off we suggest completing all the questions in one session.

Once you complete your question set you'll get a personalised feedback report.

Your feedback reports

Once you've completed a question set you'll get a personalised report that can be downloaded and saved.

Example of a discovery tool report. Image shows title of the question set (New students) and an introduction to the report's content, described below.

The purpose of the feedback report is to help you reflect on your digital capabilities in order to identify your key strengths as well as any skills gaps where you may need further support.

Rather than being an objective 'measure' of your digital capabilities the report offers guidance and tips based on your reflective answers.

The report includes:

  • A graphic with an overview of your capabilities according to each area
Example of competency graph from an overall digital capabilities report. The diagram shows a user's confidence level in 15 areas of digital capability, with colour coding to match the 6 top-level areas of the digital capability framework

  • A visual score for each area
Example of guidance text from a user's report. The guidance text has a description of the capability area (in this example, digital creation) and a wheel chart showing a user's confidence level

  • A confidence level: developing to proficient for each area
Screenshot showing a confidence level score in one capability area

  • Next step guidance and tips for each area
screenshot example of next step guidance from the exploring your digital capabilities feedback report

Next steps guidance offers valuable feedback on how to expand your digital capabilities in each key area. It includes tips on what you could do next based on your answers and proficiency scores.

Suggestions may include completing an e-learning course, carrying out a survey or creating a guide.

  • Recommended resources: a carousel of resources recommended for each capability area. Further resources are available in the resource bank section of the discovery tool
Recommended resources: a carousel of resources recommended for each capability area. Further resources are available in the resource bank section of the discovery tool

Saving your reports

You can download and print your question set report by clicking the PDF icon at the top of your report and using the print to pdf function.

We recommend that you retake the same question set every six months or when your organisation asks you to. That way you can chart your progress and get the most out of the resources available to you.

Your report is confidential. It's only visible to you and those you choose to share it with, such as your tutor.

Comparing your report results

If you've completed the same question set more than once you can compare the results from two reports. This can be a useful way to map your progress over a set period of time. Both sets of results are presented as a radial graph.

To compare results select the two reports you want to compare from the drop down list and click apply.

screenshot of the learning gain tool which allows you to compare present and past reports

Because you can save an unlimited number of question set reports you can choose any one of your past reports to compare with your current report.

Finding your previous reports

You can find completed question sets and reports in your 'My Content' bookmark at the top of the Homepage.

screen shot showing 'my content' page with 'reports' hightlighted

Your resource banks

The discovery tool gives you access to over 800 Jisc-curated resources plus any added by your organisation.

You'll also find resources from the Education Training Foundation (ETF), Google and Microsoft Collection.

Each resource has been carefully selected to support your digital learning experience.

resource bank for students thumbnail from the jisc discovery tool, the image shows a white icon of a video playback button on a green background

Resources can be accessed in two ways:

  1. Resource Bank (Students)
  2. Question set feedback reports

The discovery tool includes a wide variety of resources:

  • academic papers
  • animations
  • blog posts
  • books
  • briefing papers
  • case studies
  • courses
  • games
  • information sheets
  • Jisc guides
  • journal articles
  • learning activities
  • reports
  • toolkits
  • videos
screenshot of a resource card titled Collaborative online tools

  • Each resource is presented as a card which you select to open
  • The cards are grouped into playlists which are divided into categories
  • The same card may appear in several playlists and categories where relevant

Resources are added regularly to ensure existing content takes account of emerging technologies and trends and fully reviewed twice yearly to ensure content remains current.

Our resources are selected from a wide range of publishers including:

  • National and international bodies (Jisc, Nesta, SCONUL, EU bodies)
  • Professional bodies (CILIP, AoC, UUK)
  • Educational institution resources produced for staff or students but which could be of interest to a wide range of users.
  • Websites or blogs authored by academics
  • Websites or blogs authored by education specialists
  • Networks of educators or specialist collaborators (eg supporting citizenship, research, innovation)
  • Wikipedia and Wikiversity
  • Commercial companies (such as Microsoft, Adobe, Google)
  • Publisher Collection Resources are free to access. Prior registration may be required.

The resource banks

Resource bank for students has 13 playlists with hundreds of resources that are mapped to the different areas of the digital capability framework and other elements used in the question sets.

The playlists are housed in four main sub-banks:

  • Overall digital capabilities resource bank
  • New students resource bank
  • Digital skills in AI and generative AI
  • Publisher collections

Overall digital capabilities resource bank

screenshot of the overall digital capabilities resource bank

Each sub-bank contains playlist cards for the different learning areas. By selecting a playlist you'll have a choice of multiple hand-picked resources.

screenshot of Digital Creation playlist which is one of 16 playlists from the Overall digital capabilities resource bank.

For example Digital creation is one of 16 playlists from the Overall digital capabilities resource bank. Inside you'll find 58 curated resources to choose from.

Publisher collections

In the publisher collections you'll find resources from Microsoft and Google.

Image showing resource collections from Microsoft and Google

New students resources

We've created a special collection of resources for new students. Open the Resource bank for students and scroll down to access the New students section.

screenshot of the new students resources showing seven separate resource playlists

Navigation tips

We've highlighted some key features to help you use the tool more effectively.

Saving Playlists

  • You can save category playlists by clicking on the bookmark icon. You can like individual resource cards by clicking on the thumbs up icon:

shows saving and liking options

  • When you save a playlist it will automatically appear in the saved area of 'My content'

saved content

Saving playlists allows you to keep tabs on what you've already reviewed or want to review next.

Download and share resources

  • You can share playlists by selecting the 'share' icon

sharing playlists
  • You can download your feedback report to keep or share as a pdf


Compare your reports

  • Saved reports can be compared using the report overlay functionality. You can choose any one of your completed reports and compare it with your most recent report.
compare report drop down menus showing two date parameters

Write notes and reflections

  • You can makes notes, add external weblinks or write a reflection within the 'My profile' page by selecting Add a new post

my profile

posts profile

  • Each post will automatically be saved in your 'Profile' content.
  • Your 'Profile' is a private space where key information is automatically collated along with any Notifications and Badges you earn

Track your progress

  • A progress bar keeps track of your activity as you complete resource tasks and 'like' each resource card
screenshot of the progress bar showing a visual completion percentage

Key word search

  • To search for a resource you can use the search bar at the top of the screen
screenshot of the search content box located top left on the discovery tool dashboard

For instance typing in 'digital learning' will collate resources and playlists in the discovery tool with ‘digital learning’ in the title or summary.

screenshot of the search bar tool showing the different resource options that appear when you search under digital learning


What devices and browsers are supported?

The discovery tool will work on most devices including your mobile. You shouldn't need to download any software or browser you don’t already have.

The discovery tool has been tested with both Windows and Apple Mac desktops plus a variety of tablets and mobile devices (Android, iOS) with the following browsers:

  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Safari

For the best user experience, we recommend completing the questions and viewing the report and resources on a full-sized screen on either a desktop, laptop or tablet at 1024×768 resolution using the latest version of Chrome or Safari.

Do I have to complete a question set in one session?

You can leave a question and return to it or change your answer using the next and previous buttons. You can also save and exit the questions at any point and return for another session. You will be asked to complete any questions you have missed before submitting your answers which triggers the release of your report.

What should I do once I have completed my session?

You should manually log out as the system (as currently it doesn't automatically log you out). This is important if you are using a shared device to ensure your responses can't be viewed by others.

Will there be an option for me to indicate if a question isn't relevant to me?

All the questions in the question sets require an answer but you have the option to select None of these if you feel a question doesn't apply to you. Answering all the questions is important because it enables the discovery tool to tailor your feedback and next step suggestions with more accuracy. The questions and the scoring are there to give feedback and not to judge performance.

Can anyone else see my reports?

Your reports are confidential and only accessible to you unless you choose to share them with others such as your tutor.

Do I need to tell anyone about my results?

You may decide to share your results with your peers and certain staff members. However, the curated resources will allow you to further enhance your knowledge and skills if you want to work at your own speed.

How do I claim a digital badge for completing a question set?

Individual users can claim a 'completed' Jisc discovery tool digital badge once they've completed a question set and read their feedback report. The digital badge request 'button' can be found at the very end of the feedback report for each question set.

From the date of request it will take up to 14 working days for the user to receive their email that will enable them to download/use their digital badge. The badges are delivered using Credly's digital credentialing platform.

example of the digital badge that's awarded when a question set has been completed

What if I disagree with the results?

The discovery tool isn't a test so there are no right or wrong answers. Its purpose is to help you think about the different elements of digital capability in relation to you and your work. It's designed to help you improve your skills at your own speed.

Can I do the questions again?

Yes, the same question set can be repeated as many times as you wish. We'd suggest you repeat the questions every six months or when directed by your tutor. Repeating the same question set is useful because it lets you see how your digital capabilities have changed over time - particularly if you have been working to improve a particular area.

Is there a glossary to help me understand more about building digital capabilities?

We've put together a glossary of all the key terminology regarding digital capabilities. The glossary may be helpful when reviewing resources, writing reflections or completing coursework.