The aim of the 2 year project eLiLL (e-Learning in Later Life) was
- to contribute to digital literacy of older adults 60+ in Europe with the special focus on the use of the new media in lifelong learning
- to collect, compare and distribute examples of good practice in the use of the ICTs in lifelong learning and to stimulate the application of the ICTs by providers of education for older adults.
- to foster active co-operation via the new media between organizations of seniors’ education within the European network LiLL (www.lill-online.net) and other European networks and between the seniors themselves.
- to promote beneficial forms of application of the new media and to contribute to active participation of older adults in all spheres of life in Europe.
Although in Europe a lot is done to decrease the digital gap between the generations (special courses for seniors, access to the Internet made easier), the number of older adults using the Internet in the framework of seniors’ education is still quite small.
There are various reasons for this, amongst the most important being:
- The group of older learners is not homogenous and has various interests and competences. The Internet teaching concentrates often on technicalities rather than on mediating contents attractive to the learners.
- There are sometimes barriers already within the organisations of senior’s education, where, even in large and well-equipped organisations, the Internet is not considered or is not yet recognised as an important tool in the education of seniors.
The Internet as a medium of communication and co-operation in the lifelong learning context was utilised in the last years by ZAWiW in the framework of several European projects such as LiLL, SoLiLL, EuCoNet, TownStories and ODE (ILEU). In the learning projects concentrating on contents interesting for the learners ZAWiW has made good experiences with involving in active participation also persons who were shy or sceptical of the use of the ICTs.
Using the possibilities of the network “Learning in Later Life (LiLL)” and the platform www.LiLL-online.net , with member organisations in 20 European countries (university as well as non-university educational bodies, associations, etc.), connections to large European and international networks focusing on issues concerning older adults, such as AIUTA, EFOS, EURAG, the project partners will gather information about successful methodical approaches to the use of the ICTs in life long education in Europe. Contacted will be also other relevant EU projects from the digital literacy program. Each partner will be responsible for the part of Europe where his country is located. Questionnaires will be created with the cooperation of an expert pool and sent to organisations and associations in the network LiLL as well as other associations of life long learning. The results will be analysed and examples of good practice documented according to given specifications. Considered will be the various barriers as well as the opportunities, focus will be on didactic approaches, learning styles, motivational approaches, technical possibilities, information sources and forms of local and national support. This process will be documented and evaluated. Results will be used for the development of strategies for improvement of the present situation in the use of the ICTs by seniors aged 60+ and especially women, who are most strongly under-represented in the group of the new media users as well as for the initiation and the promotion of exemplary practices. The outcomes from the project should stimulate organisations of seniors’ education to apply the the ICTs in their programs and to promote national and trans-national activities for older adults by the use of new media.
The information won in the project eLiLL was documented and presented in a project website and a multimedia CD-ROM to a wider public and serves an important source of information and inspiration for future projects in the area of digital literacy in lifelong learning as well as being of use to other organisations of adult education wanting to initiate similar national and trans-national activities. A Bulletin in English with sections in other European languages – online and in a printed form containing examples of good practice in the international context from the viewpoint of personal experiences from seniors was published in the paper and in the project website.