Hartpury Digital Skills Framework in Agriculture

D-I-S-C-O Reference Model

In this section we introduce a new reference model for digital skills in agriculture, D-I-S-C-O. This draws on and builds upon the work of others. It provides a model for educators at colleges, universities and other learning providers to use for curricula development and benchmarking, as well as for farmers and growers. D-I-S-C-O should be considered alongside other core employability skills: leadership, teamwork, communication, planning, initiative, creativity, self-management and business awareness. The reference model brings into focus the specific digital knowledge, behaviours and skills required for individuals and businesses in agriculture. There are five themes within the reference model encompassing a wide range of digital topics from gathering data to the day-to-day tasks in a farming and growing business. It provides a framework for the digital knowledge, behaviours and skills required for effective performance in the industry, now and in the future. The model identifies standards with associated learning outcomes across five themes: Data and Insight, Innovate and Improve, Safe and Legal, Communicate and Collaborate, Operations and Activities.

The D-I-S-C-O tool will help educators, students and businesses make practical use of the reference model. It has more information as well as tasks to guide the development of digital skills.

DATA AND INSIGHT Gathering and interpreting business information.

INNOVATE AND IMPROVE Researching and developing new ideas and opportunities.


Find the tool here


SAFE AND LEGAL Protecting data, people and your organisation.

COMMUNICATE AND COLLABORATE Working and sharing with others digitally.

OPERATIONS AND ACTIVITIES Using and maintaining technology in your business.

We will explore each theme in more detail and there is a D-I-S-C-O tool to accompany the reference model.

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