TAO/Online Tools for people 50plus
These are some recommendations addressed to operators of platforms directed to the target group of people 50+, as well to 3rd age universities which offer online collaboration or other interested institutions that work with online tools.
Here you can find some information about specifies to consider in the needs of adults 50+ as users of online tools.
Introduction[edit | edit source]
Older people are increasingly enthusiastic about online learning. Web 2.0 tools, as interactive and collaborative elements of the internet, can empower them to gain and/or pass on knowledge to others, maintaining cognitive ability as well as developing interests in a range of subject areas. For operators of websites directed to the target group of people 50+ it is important to consider some facts concerning the characteristics of older people and their specific needs and requirements for using online tools.
Within the European project PEER- Dare to be wise - guidelines for operators of 50+ websites were developed on how to motivate older people for peer learning through the provision of pedagogical, organizational and technical information on setting up targeted online peer learning tools.
Recommendations[edit | edit source]
The ten guidelines elaborated aim to support moves towards the transition of online services by suggesting the use of Web 2.0 tools for learning purposes on online social networks by adults 50+.
The guidelines comprise, on one half recommendations related to technology, and on the other half suggestions related to learning.
Research and workshops held with participants of the target group of 50plus people showed that the key motivational factors for older learners using Web 2.0 tools include perceived privacy, trust and security.
Additional factors that should be taken into concern are the simplicity of the tools you want to implement on your platform directed to older learners. Clear, simple tools that are easy to understand and free from adverts are particularly attractive. Therefore the offered recommendations contain information concerning technical confinements, fears and skepticism of older people as well as support for security, usability, accessibility, social aspects like a certain code of conduct and the copious involvement of users and their abilities.
Some of the most important recommendations when implementing tools on your 50+ platform are
- to communicate the benefit of this tool to the members of the platform
- to grant the accessibility and usability of the tools
- to ask for and regard the feedback of the platform members and offer technical support with a personal touch in case of problems or questions concerning the tools
Also peer to peer approaches to help platform members provide support to each other are highly recommended.
Let the users feel they are the most important part of your learning offer and using the tools shall invite them to new learning experiences.
Background[edit | edit source]
At full length the recommendations are actually available in English, German, Dutch, Spanish and Polish and will be published as eBook and printed.
Additional to the guidelines the PEER project partners also developed an overview of quality insurance instruments in the domain of Web 2.0 tools and older people, aswell as quality assurance frameworks.
A more pedagogical focus is set in another project publication: "Motivating older people to use 50plus platforms for common learning". Here the PEER consortium made research concerning reasons for older people for joining social network platforms and motivational factors for online exchange. Desk research was conducted looking at the motivational elements of learning in later life, particularly around ICT and social network platforms. An outline of findings from two participatory workshops is then provided, with a particular focus on the exchange of knowledge between older learners.
For more information check the official project Homepage of PEER.
The topic also refers to the Active Aging Learning Community- another best practice project aiming to provide people 60+ with the skills needed to cope with ageing thus remaining active for a longer time in society, the consortium with partners from Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Germany developed learning modules in Health Self-Management, ICT for Social Networking and Intergenerational Volunteering. In an intergenerational learning community the elderly can learn how to age actively in terms of their health, physical and cognitive ability, social communication and intergenerational solidarity, supported by 16-35 age groups both in learning and practice. More information and the learning materials are available on www.a-learn.eu
References[edit | edit source]
Official project website: http://www.peer-learning-50plus.eu/
Motivating older people to use 50plus platforms for common learning 
Quality assurance framework in practice: a handbook for operators of 50plus platforms http://www.peer-learning-50plus.eu/en/object/publication/79
Web 2.0 Tools and Older People - An Overview of Quality Assurance Instruments http://www.peer-learning-50plus.eu/en/object/publication/63
Quality assurance framework for the introduction and implementation of Web2.0 tools in social networks for older adults http://www.peer-learning-50plus.eu/en/object/publication/74