To be an active participant in today’s society, one needs to be able to operate in various online environments.
“Yet, we still have a great number of people who feel left out of the scope of digital services. Our research project focuses on elderly people’s right to learn new things. In our context, this refers to digital skills. Unfortunately, this continues to be ignored,” says Professor of Special Education Eija Kärnä.
New technologies have great potential in enriching the everyday life of elderly people and to enhance their well-being. Many, however, experience digitalisation as a challenge that is met with mixed feelings.
“We are seeking solutions to overcome some of the challenges associated with digital services and devices. Besides Finland, our research group has researchers from Austria, Italy, Germany and Japan.”
The project’s findings will be used to give policy recommendations to the EU, and another goal is to influence political decision-making on more regional levels.
“Finland is a pioneer on this front, as we are currently piloting a nationwide model to provide support for the elderly and other specific groups in the use of digital devices and services.”
In Finland, training in digital skills is provided, e.g., by community colleges and third sector actors, such as different organisations. Peer support is also available in a multitude of different forms, and this has been identified as a particularly good mode of training.
The data used by the ACCESS project comprises a survey sent to digital skills teachers, peer tutees and elderly people who are learning digital skills, as well as teacher and learner interviews. In addition, the project’s researchers observed settings where digital skills are being taught all across Finland.