DIGITAL

Scientific publication

Learning4Generations - How the Elderly use Social Media to Learn \& Connect

Publication from Digital

Kurt Majcen

AAL-Forum 2013 , 1/2013

Abstract:

The Austrian FFG-Project Learning4Generations will bring together young people as tutors and elderly people as trainees. It will provide pupils/students with the appropriate teaching skills. Thus they will be enabled to instruct older adults on how to effectively use digital and social media. The project will develop learning methods, scenarios and a Web 2.0-plattform for inter-generational exchange of knowledge. Both face-to-face and virtual learning instruments are used to establish
 an inter-generational learning community.  The project observed an initiative which is organized once a year in cooperation between a regional newspaper and secondary schools. In this initiative some thousand pupils are teaching older adults
 for several hours how to use modern technology. The older adults and the pupils were asked to participate in surveys about the events but also about use of recent technologies.  More than 1000 older adults and 850 pupils participated in the surveys. In contrary to the often mentioned facts that older adults are already heavily and successfully using modern technology the results showed that older adults need assistance and often even basic understanding to become enabled for more complex tasks with computers, the internet and social media. Pupils need to learn how to teach older adults; especially they need training for finding the correct language.  Therefore older adults need to be provided with secure virtual but
 also physical communication spaces for their questions. Pupils can be motivated by small salaries which can be part of a gamification approach. Learning4Generations develops tools, guides and meeting formats assisting the aforementioned needs. From first results it also became clear that older adults are definitely interested in using technology but are often too shy. This is due to insufficient usability but also to a great extent due to the absence of trusted trained contacts. Accompanying measures are developed to overcome this.