A1 Senior Academy - Austria
The A1 Senior Academy is an Austrian initiative, aimed specifically at those over the age of 60. The objective behind the Academy is to provide a range of free courses for seniors on all levels - from beginners to advanced users. When you browse the courses the Academy offers, you will see they are split across 3 main options: there is the A1 Senior Citizens' Academy, which takes place online; there is the A1 on-site Academy, for those wanting to learn face-to-face; and last but not least - self-learning courses, for those interested but in need of their own pace. All programmes are free of charge.
Main thematic areas
The aim of the Academy is to attract Austrians that are not yet familiar with the digital world to improve their digital competence. Participants have an opportunity to explore a range of topics, including but not limited to:
- First steps on the Internet
- Search and find with Google
- Communication with e-mail and WhatsApp
- Video telephony with smartphone and tablet
- Setting up Wi-Fi
- Safety and privacy
The thematic areas offered will be regularly adapted and expanded, to match the pace of digital technologies.
The A1 Senior Academy Online
The courses offered online through the Academy include a variety of programmes to help build the skills one needs to confidently navigate the digital world. Many options exist here: take for example the course "Participation in online events", where participants learn how to actively engage with online courses, and how to successfully register, follow and attend online events or webinars; or the "Digital Newspaper", which shows all you need to know about the way newspapers have gone digital, and how to get the information people used to get from the press, online and at the tip of their fingerprints.
The "Smartphone or tablet when traveling" course takes you through the basics of using your mobile device abroad, or how to choose a device as your right travel companion, if travel is something you do often. Another similar option, the "Smartphone and Tablet Video Telephony" demonstrates step by step how to manage video conferences through your mobile phone or tablet, and gives you a manual on how to test whether everything is working well.
Courses range from general to specific ones for some Austrian citizens. As the digital transformation is changing the world we work and live in with a rapid pace, some members of society are affected more than others. This is very much the case in urban areas, and the Academy reflects this. Those in the Austrian capital can explore the course "Vienna: fast and easy to access" and learn how to navigate around the city - from using the mobile park app instead of a parking ticket, to everything else you may need to get around Vienna - faster and with ease. Other courses are broader, like “Understanding and reaping the benefits of Wi-Fi” explains how Wi-Fi works, and how to get the best out of the connection we have at our disposal. The course "Sending photos and documents" deals with sending photos and other files in an email, and explains the advantages and drawbacks of the different email systems available.
The A1 Senior Academy on site
The A1 Academy of Senior Citizens on site is organised as part of a round table, facilitated by A1 coaches, who help participants to get acquainted with a smartphone and tablet. The tablets are provided by A1 as part of the programme, and the roundtable takes place in several locations at regular intervals, including Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, Linz and Klagenfurt.
E-learning self-learning courses:
The self-learning courses provide the option of improving one's digital skills without following a set schedule. They cover a variety of topics, including but not limited to:
- The mobile signature: learn how an electronic or digital signature works, and what it entails.
- Installation of "Signal": the Signal app has grown in popularity over recent years. Learn how to install it.
- Mobile video telephony: a video resource that explains how video calls using a smartphone or tablet work.
- Android or iPhone: find out the main differences between the two operating systems, and helps you choose the one that suits your needs best.
- Installation of WhatsApp: guidance on how to install "WhatsApp", a similar messaging software to Signal.
For more information, please consult the A1 Senior Academy website.
Why is this a good practice?
The A1 Senior Academy is a good practice project in digital senior education, offering a wide range of free training opportunities for Generation 60+, both online and in-person, supporting digital literacy in a variety of ways. Their inclusive approach allows older people to expand their skills and knowledge at their own pace and according to their individual needs. The programme is sustainable, and can serve as inspiration for those interested in developing similar initiatives - whether these target seniors, or not.