BESS – Be Smart Seniors

In line with the EU's active aging policy, we want to provide quality learning opportunities for older adults (over 60) by developing a user-friendly online platform with interactive video-based learning content, enabling them to use online services with confidence. This can improve their quality of life, contribute to maintaining personal autonomy. We want to achieve all this through intergenerational learning, involving younger relatives of the members of the target group in the process.

Background

The European Commission considers aging to be one of the greatest social and economic challenges of 21st century for European societies. In 2014, the proportion of people aged 65 and over reached 18.5% in the EU, and this proportion is expected to increase further in the future, to almost 30% by 2080.

The difficulties experienced by the elderly’s relatives and the social and health care system can be solved in part by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by technology. Modern ICT tools and online services can contribute to improving the quality of life, preserving personal autonomy, and maintaining and improving the personal interactions of older people.

According to a 2016 Eurostat survey, 85% of European households had internet access. Although most seniors have a computer or smartphone, an Internet connection, and are open to learn new things, many of them do not use online services regularly due to the lack of the necessary skills. Even though many European countries offer IT courses for the elderly, these are traditional classroom sessions.

The potential of online education is not yet being exploited and there is no pedagogical methodology that focuses specifically on educating the elderly.

There is therefore a need to develop a methodology that takes into account the special learning needs and habits of the elderly. By involving younger family members in the learning process of the elderly, significant improvements can be made in this area.

Project goals

  • Studying the special learning needs and habits of the elderly
  • Assessing the needs of older people and identifying the most important online services and features for them.
  • Develop a practice-oriented guide for young people with case studies that shows how to effectively transfer digital skills to their older family members.
  • Creating a freely accessible collection of tutorials consisting of approximately 60 short, well-designed, interactive, and age-appropriate videos to help them use online services while improving their quality of life. The content is based on previous needs analysis and has country-specific sections (such as e-government services).
  • Creating an easy-to-use online learning interface where older people can not only find learning opportunities, but also can ask younger people for help and share their memories, achievements and experiences.
  • Keeping the video library up to date, integrating new videos created by the elderly, in which they share their experiences and memories based on what they have learned, leaving a digital footprint for younger generations.

Results

  • A study of the special learning needs and habits of the elderly.
  • Survey and analysis of what older people want to use their smart devices and the internet for.
  • A practical guide for young people with case studies on effective ways to teach older relatives.
  • An open video library for seniors to help them use online services.
  • Easy-to-use online learning environment for intergenerational collaboration.

Effects

  • More effective intergenerational collaboration, supported by the Intergenerational Learning Guide. The developed methodology can be used by service providers working in the field of education in other circumstances
  • Opportunities for older people to use online services, making their daily lives easier and maintaining their independence
  •  Opportunity for older people to share their memories, experiences and achievements online, passing them on to younger generations
  • Use of the ergonomic and technical features of the developed website by other organizations who want an “age-friendly” website with online services that are easily accessible and usable by the target group.
  • A methodology combining an intergenerational approach with online education for the elderly can be useful for educators and course developers across Europe.

Partners

  • Corvus Kft., Hungary – coordinator
  • Andragoški zavod Maribor – Ljudska univerza, Slovenia
  • KarrierSuli Educational Foundation, Hungary
  • Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland
  • Anthropogogik Brändle, Liechtenstein
  • Pensioners’ Association, Hungary
  • Prompt-H Kft., Hungary

Duration of the project: 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020

Project ID: 2018-1-HU01-KA204-047754

The project’s website: http://smartseniors.eu/