FIVE European projects that boost the digital skills of elderly people

There are a few projects addressing digital skills of older adults, and we can learn from their findings, use the best approaches and the tools that have been already developed, thus combining our strengths and expertise to achieve better results.

We'll start with the two of the projects that ALL DIGITAL is part of - ICTSkills4All and ICT4TheElderly  that both aim to improve the life of the older adults teaching them digital skills and introducing them to various online tools and possibilities.

1. ICT Skills 4 All

Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for adult education
Countries: Portugal, Latvia, Poland, Belgium, United Kingdom  
Duration: September 2018 – February 2021

ICTSkills4All – Empowering old citizens for a digital world aims at fostering digital skills, self-confidence and online safety of old adults aged 55 years and over who have minimal or no engagement with digital technology.

In order to do so, the ICTSkills4All project has developed an ICT Learning Programme, which includes:

  • A dedicated online platform with information, training tools and resources addressed to those who have low digital skills;
  • Face-to-face support using the inter-generational and peer-to-peer approach addressed for those who have no digital skills. The aim of this phase is to provide these people with the basic digital skills that allow them to access the platform.

The face-to-face piloting tested which is the best methodology: the inter-generational approach, where university students help the elderly, or the peer-to-peer approach, where the elderly with no digital skills are assisted by colleagues with more skills.  The pilot activities take place in four partner countries: Portugal, UK, Latvia and Poland.

The project is in its final stage, and currently the partners are working on finalising the platform, preparing the report on the piloting activities and policy recommendations. it will have its final event in February where all of the developed tools and methodology will be presented.

2. ICT for the Elderly

Key action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for adult education
Countries: Malta, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Slovenia
Duration: September 2018 – May 2021

ICT for the Elderly project aims at enhancing the digital skills of the elderly, create awareness about Internet use among the elderly and their communities, networking and capacity-building of project partners and stakeholders involved, from 5 different countries.

The expected results of the project will be to see a more digitally inclusive elderly society. A society which makes use of the Internet and it's benefits. Consequently, the consortium of this project will work to bring together a set of best practices and Open Educational Resources, develop them into one training manual of 30 face to face hours, with a supporting Online Academy to help participants keep practicing at the leisure of their home and as much as they like. The training manual shall also include training scenarios to ensure that participants be able to relate to Internet use.

The project had to postpone its training due to the pandemic, but the partners hope to resume the training in January. 

Here are three other recently completed Erasmus+ projects that you can look at and check what they have achieved and what tools have been developed.

3. Digital Skills for People Living in the 3rd Age
Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for adult education
Countries: United Kingdom, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Spain, Greece
Duration: November 2017 – October 2019

The main objectives of the Digital Skills for People Living in the 3rd Age - Effective Digital... project are: 
• To train elderly people to develop digital skills needed to access public services     online
 • To provide a tailored solution for overcoming barriers related to access, skills, confidence and motivation of elderly people to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet and digital services
 • To apply a confidence-building approach by developing virtual assistance based on elderly people’s real life scenarios

Outcomes:
• Public services roadmaps providing information on the most relevant online public services in 5 EU countries
• Policy recommendations for improving active ageing and digital literacy of elderly
• E-learning and e-assistance platform with a Virtual assistance tool for digital inclusion of the elderly
• Effective methodology for high-quality work with elderly people by applying confidence-building approach and interactivity
• Policy recommendations for improving active ageing and digital literacy of elderly
• Triggering word of mouth events for presenting the project results and supporting their exploitation at local, national and European level

Training program and courses: The training program is designed to develop the proper digital skills necessary to effective digital access to public services, and actively to improve the digital knowledge of elderly learners.

4. Senior New Tech
Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for adult education
Countries: Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Lithuania
Duration: December 2017 – November 2019

Objectives of the Senior New Tech project:
- Increasing the number of elderly using innovations (Internet, ICT devices, printers etc.) in daily life,
- Enhancing the senior participation in activities connected with new technologies & decreasing their fear about using Internet,
-Introduce, develop &promote innovative methods&tools in training by supporting personalized learning approaches for seniors, ICT in an accessible way for seniors,
- Enhance professional development and increase quality&range of training for people active in elderly education by offering new competencies&ability to work with a diverse group, especially seniors,
-Foster equality&inclusion in education&training, to enable quality learning, promote active participation of elderly in the society
- Promote intergenerational integration by exchanging crucial experience &skills of these groups and increasing cooperation among these groups: young teach elderly & vice versa and promote youth participation in the adult education
- Exchange of best practices of partners organization in senior education

Results:
- A collection of all training topics was created for seniors in the form of a Handbook. The Handbook is designed for learning basic computer skills - is written in plain and intelligible language, words and technological issues are explained, contains a lot of pictures and print screenshots of examples. The publication is available for everyone to download from the project website and EPALE website.
- The project encouraged many senior citizens to become familiar with the topic of new technologies.
- Thanks to the training that took place in Lithuania, appropriate practices and forms of work with older students were developed.

5. Inclusive Senior Education through Virtual U3A

Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for adult education
Countries: Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal
Duration: October 2017 – August 2020

The objective of Inclusive Senior Education through Virtual U3A project is to create a system of inclusive education of seniors with the use of information technology and active engagement of the seniors in the creation of the content of individual courses, including participation in their implementation. Another project objective is to systematically engage the youth in the education of seniors.

Long-term benefits:
- Removing the barriers give more seniors a chance to take part in the lifelong education. This benefit was tried during covid-19 crisis. Seniors could study from their homes and be in contact with the school as well as with their schoolmates.

- Increase the number of active seniors, who will be able to collaborate on learning/teaching activities.
- Enlargement comparative study and methodology among a vast array of stakeholders. Comparative study as well as methodology were presented at national seminars and conferences. They are also available on the project webpages.
- Enhancement of the OU in its third role (Lifelong education). This benefit was also checked during the covid-19 crisis. OU did not stop offering educational activities for seniors. OU has created new courses for seniors in distance form.

Results:
- Three analysis developed by common instructions. Each partners' country developed analysis according to the common structure based on the results of questionnaire for seniors.
- Comparative case study.
- Methodology of inclusive senior’s education (without barrier) based on smart using of ICT, cooperative learning, social learning, integrating of youth and boost senior’s confidence.
- New virtual classroom as a result of implementation of designed methodology (at least in applicant organisation).
- Courses: seniors to seniors.

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