The interest and desire among older adults to participate in further education trainings is really high. Many learning opportunities for seniors are designed with attendance and thus remain out of reach for several people, among others older adults with mobility restrictions, family commitments, or people from rural areas. This project follows a new, innovative approach to provide solutions. Selected seniors will be empowered to develop digital learning content, and to provide it to other seniors in a learning platform. To ensure high quality of the materials, the seniors will be trained prior in a training activity and accompanied by multimedia experts during the development process.
The objectives are to improve and expand (digital) learning opportunities for older adults with Internet skills by enriching the learning offers with new contents and topics; to develop an innovative approach to enable seniors to create their own multimedia enriched learning offers; to guarantee high quality or learning materials by training the seniors in an online course; to facilitate access to learning opportunities through internet-based offerings and to promote interregional and European networking and cooperation among seniors.
The core topics are empowering older adults to become authors of their field of expertise using new technologies and developing innovative digital materials for seniors. Digital and pedagogic competencies and the capacity to summarise and share own experiences with other peers provide a special, previously unknown opportunity to support active aging in reality. The planned project results include new and innovative curricula, open educational resources in the form of short online courses created by seniors on topics that affect older adults in their daily life like photography, cooking, dealing with loss etc., innovative educational methods and training courses for seniors. Several national multiplier events are planned to reach the expected results and to increase the number of persons involved in project activities and dissemination. Through the interaction between practice, research and policy on regional, national and European level the partners expect to achieve a more far-reaching target, namely giving more focus to active participation of seniors and initiating change in which older adults are considered more intensely as part of the European learning society and not predominantly as target group of health and social care.
Intangible results include an enhanced visibility and impact of issues surrounding active aging and active citizenship, increased training offers for the third age, mutual learning among older adults, promotion of an intercultural exchange, and the improvement of digital skills through an increased use of ICT at national and European level.
The main activities are directed towards:
Training for the creation of digital learning content - development of a course and manual for seniors who would like to become authors of online learning materials. It provides basics in didactic and instructions on how digital learning content (learning modules, videos, interactive exercises …) can be created;
Innovative learning platform will be set up according to the requirements of seniors. The learning platform will be capable for mobile learning;
Digital, multimedia enriched learning content - an analysis of interests and needs of seniors with regards to learning offers will be conducted. According to the results, in a second step 3-5 topics are selected about which the trained seniors can develop and provide digital content modules. The topics cover the everyday life of older adults, e.g. "coping with everyday life after losing the partner", "dealing with illnesses like dementia", or "age-related movement and nutrition". In a third step, the developed contents will be tested and evaluated with at least 20 participants per country.
In the frame of the project, older adults will be trained to develop high-quality, innovative, and interactive ICT based courses to be shared with other seniors. This approach is open and innovative in a way as there exists no other similar approach in any other project so far. Existing approaches either focus on the development of learning offers based on face-to-face activities, or consist of online courses which were developed by multimedia trainers and not – as in this project – by seniors themselves. New forms of learning and the use of digital learning technologies make further education more attractive, and support the target group in keeping in pace with technological developments (digital competence). Learning techniques based on ICT further promote accessible education and flexible learning paths.
Our partners are Institut für Lern-Innovation at the Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Senioren-Organisationen e.V. from Germany, Dublin City University from Ireland, Foundation for Women's Issues (FJK) from Poland and Art-Age from the Netherlands. The programme is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU.
A closing event in the frame of GrandExperts project took place on 19 November 2019 at Sofia Innovation Lab kindly hosted by Sofia Development Association. We know quite well that older people want and are able to continue to learn and share with others what they know and are skilful. Older experts from Dolni and Gorni Vadin, Sofia and Trud village took part in the event together with specialists in the field of education and guests. Miroslava Georgieva, coordinator and a trainer in the programme, presented the aims and the activities. She told about the partner organisations from Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and the working meeting in these countries. She also presented some of the experts from the other countries and their themes.
The most interesting part of the meeting was the presentation of the older experts from Bulgaria and their themes. Each one of them received a certificate for a successful completion of an author’s training module presented on the on-line platform. The developed modules are on a few main areas – gardening, arts and crafts, health, children and culinary. All these are illustrated with pictures and videos taken by the older experts. The experts shared their impressions from the trainings and the actual work on the modules, the support they have received by colleagues at the local community clubs and the trainer Miroslava Georgieva. Maria Petkova, director of Tulip Foundation, gave certificates to the representatives of Saznanie – 1927 Chitalishte Dolni Vadin village and Svetlina 1929 Chitalishte Trud village – organisations that have been actively involved in the planning and logistics of the trainings as well as the follow up support for the local experts. She expressed gratitude to the testers – the people who read the developed modules on the platform and gave their valuable feedback to the authors.
For two years we worked with our partners from ILI at Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Senioren-Organisationen e.V. from Germany, Dublin City University from Ireland, Foundation for Women's Issues (FJK) from Poland and Art-Age from the Netherlands. Together we developed training modules for older people who believe they are experts in certain field and would like to share their experience by developing their own online courses.
Since the beginning of the year more than 70 people from different parts of the country participated in series of meetings, face-to-face and online trainings for development of an online content. Out of these 16 people developed their own online courses on different themes. According to one’s interests everyone can follow the created modules in Bulgarian language.
The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU.