Exploring an inclusive digital society

A project by the University of Groningen

Inclusion Lab

Pilot Digital Inclusion


The Digital Inclusion Pilot is a collaboration between 18 societal partners who joined together in November 2018 in the Digital Literacy Coalition. These include educational institutions (child care, primary and secondary education, vocational education, higher professional education and university education), the government (municipality and province of Groningen), the business community (VNO-NCW Noord, ICT companies and publishers) and the cultural field (libraries, cultural centers and media). The Digital Inclusion Pilot aims to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to increase their level of digital literacy and participate in an increasingly digitalized society.

Project info

We consider digital literacy a necessary condition for digital inclusion; one cannot be realized or understood without the other. Led by the University of Groningen, four subprojects have been launched, all related to promoting digital literacy and inclusion. In three research projects, we examine what are the conditions and barriers to digital inclusion from the perspective of citizens, and explore how digital inclusion can be promoted.

Covid-19 had a major impact on society, which was felt within many different aspects of education. Both within the design, content and structuring of educational programs, things had to be adapted to the ever-changing situation. This has slowed the educational process in some cases, while in others, pilots were set up in innovative and proactive ways to allow education to continue anyway. In addition to the impact the covid-19 measures had on the educational programs, it also affected the mental characteristics of both the teachers, volunteers and the trainees and participants. This required much flexibility and adaptability from the actors involved, especially for the trainees and participants who were mostly low-literate. This target would probably already experience more problems stemming from intrinsic (mental) factors relative to a more generic target group, which have only been amplified by covid-19. Yet the measures and changing situation have also provided opportunities that would have otherwise been underexposed. The key for the future is to take advantage of these opportunities and prepare educational programs for a future in which physical gathering is not always the norm.


Within this pilot, cooperation took place between the University of Groningen, the municipality of Groningen, Alfa College and the Stichting Kinderopvang Stad Groningen (SKSG). The findings from these research projects relate to the NWO project “Informed Citizenship for All. Digital Literacy as prerequisite for an inclusive society,” which is being conducted by, among others, PhD students Denise Mensonides and Alexander Smit, and researchers Dr. Leonie Brummer (RUG) and Ieteke Talsma (RUG).


For questions, comments and other things related to the Digital Inclusion Pilot project, please email digitalinclusionlab@rug.nl.

Image: ©Unsplash – John Schnobrich

Pilot Digital Inclusion