Seniors as Digital Learners - Finland
The digital divide is also a generational one, and the Nordplus project in Finland, Sweden, Lithuania and Norway is set within this context, aiming to explore how seniors in the Nordic and Baltic countries acquire digital skills.
This initiative brings together 2 projects: one took place from September 2020 to August 2021, and another began in 2021, ending in December 2023. Both projects are coordinated by the Summer University of Jyväskylä and supported by the Swedish Association for Distance Education (SE), the Medardas Cobotas Third Age University in Lithuania, and Seniornett in Norway.
Aims and objectives
A key task of the project is to reinforce areas of collaboration between Nordic and Baltic countries when it comes to lifelong learning for seniors and encourage knowledge-sharing and free flow of ideas of digital skills teaching for older people. The project's aim is to share good practices on the topic of digital skills for seniors in the Nordic and Baltic regions, and assess how digitalisation and lifelong learning are seen in different countries. The two phases of the project are split as follows:
- During the project's 1st phase, participants improved their knowledge of existing networks and mechanisms to support the development of digital competence for seniors. Presentations covered various topics, including digitalisation and continuous learning in the European countries in question. Ideas and knowledge were adapted and transferred to a local level and integrated in organisational policies.
- The second phase of the project includes the development of an online repository of good practices in teaching digital skills to seniors. The portal is available free of charge and can be useful to any practitioner or training provider in adult education in the Baltic and Nordic states.
Why is this a good practice?
The project was successful in disseminating different perspectives on adult education, drawing specific recommendations on involving seniors in digital competence training in Sweden, Lithuania, and Finland. It also highlighted example cases and best practices in teaching seniors digital skills and involved a wide community of people: from pedagogical staff to representatives of adult students or voluntaries (seniors) from each organisation.
The project facilitated several meetings and seminars in each of the participating countries and showcased best practices in each of them. All meetings included expert presentations and discussions on different practices and methods of supporting and advancing digital competencies for senior citizens.
These best practices were then replicated in participating countries, adapted and applied in different contexts, such as with different peer tutoring programs. Information and material from the project has also been disseminated within and by the organising institutions, and throughout the project the meeting practices were developed with continuous evaluation as well as gathering and disseminating feedback from the participants.
This cooperation is scaled up and continues in the new edition of the project until 2023, which focuses on developing guidelines for trainers working with seniors in a digital skills context, which offer a range of resources and tools to make daily life more easy in the digital world.