EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2017. The OPALESCE project is creating a mobile distance learning system that senior citizens with no previous experience can learn in one hour.
The article series shares good practices on engaging new learners by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2017.
OPALESCE is an ongoing European partnership that aims to bridge a digital divide and open up new learning opportunities for senior citizens. This group frequently feels left behind technological developments, even though some solutions – for example web-based distance learning – may be particularly useful for them.
This is why the project has taken up the task to create a mobile distance learning system that senior citizens with no previous experience can learn in one hour. The project partners specialise either in education of older learners or in developing cutting edge software for educational purposes.
The system caters specifically to the needs of older learners, with assistive features such as text zoom. Also, for senior citizens the usability of mobile learning platforms such as tablets opens the opportunity for more intuitive learning tools.
While there are already European universities that offer specific distance learning courses for senior citizens, they always require some knowledge of computers – this course, on the other hand, offers an introduction to modern touch-screen devices. Currently in its testing phase, the system will eventually include free learning content provided by external organisations – for example medical and nutrition advice.
The first evaluations of the target group have been helpful and shown the importance of developing such a system.
By the end of June, the consortium planned to reach more than 1000 seniors through the presentation and free testing of the OPALESCE system at events in all partner countries. The consortium has already disseminated information about the project through scientific and news articles, national radio spots, national and international seminars and congresses.
Text: Lou-Andréa Pinson
Photo: Fabrizio Verrecchia