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EPALE - ríomhArdán d’Fhoghlaim Aosach san Eoraip


EPALE discussion: digital skills as a way of accessing learning opportunities

ag EPALE Moderator


EPALE Online Discussion Digital Skills


As part of our April-June 2020 focus on Digital skills as a way of accessing learning opportunities, EPALE is organising an online discussion.

The large number of adults with poor basic digital skills represents a major obstacle in achieving an inclusive society and reducing social inequalities. Too few adults have access to adult learning resources, and this has a real impact on their personal development and employment prospects.

Providing adult-specific teaching methods to help trainers to become more effective in their work requires specialised training and continuous professional development geared towards adult-specific teaching strategies.

Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced everyone to adapt to new ways of working and pushed adult educators to explore and adopt new online tools and techniques to allow them continue their training and learning activities.  

The discussion will take place on this page on 27 May between 10:00 and 16:00 CET and will be moderated by EPALE Thematic Coordinator Altheo Valentini and by EPALE Content Assistant Claudia D'Eramo.

► Share your stories, tips, case studies and good practices with the EPALE community!

Also, if you’ve ever been involved in successful projects, or if you have developed any relevant methodologies – share your story with the other participants in the comments below!

The discussion on 27 May will include the following topics:

  • digital inclusion
  • barriers to digital access
  • distance learning
  • how to reshape adult education at the times of Covid-19

► Comments will be open on 20 May so participants can introduce themselves or post their comments in advance.

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James Callus's picture
Reading all these contributions made me reflect about the importance of empowering adults to become more conversant with the digital dimension.  During the current pandemic, when schools closed the doors for health reasons, it clearly emerged the divide among adults who had a good command of digital tools and those who did not even had the basic skills.  It was really challenging to ensure equity in terms of the teaching and learning process, but this has highlighted the need to focus on the parents' digital competence to be able to support their children at home in case of a future lockdown.  
Claudia D'Eramo's picture
Thank you for this contribution James.
The pandemic made few unsolved issues arise, along with the urgent need to bridge the gap of digital skills among the adult population. Just as you said. These challenging times will, hopefully, let us re-think lots of fields.
Adult education is a key point to overcome many outstanding issues.

Claudia (EPALE moderator)
renato luti's picture
Un’esperienza interessante di apprendimento a distanza si sta concludendo a Barga, per UNITRE. Mentre gli altri corsi, per forza di cose, sono stati serrati per il confinamento coronavirus, Adulti Ancora A Scuola ha predisposto con rapidità gli strumenti per proseguire gli apprendimenti on line per i corsisti di Informatica Base UNITRE_Barga. Molti particolari si possono ricavare dal sito Un anno formativo straordinario è giunto alla fine. Abbiamo fatto quello che nessuno, neppure noi ci saremmo sognati di fare. Ne siamo contenti, ed anche un po’ fieri. ADULTI ANCORA A SCUOLA ( abbiamo affrontato la crisi del coronavirus rafforzando le nostre conoscenze (know-how) imperterriti e attivi nello studio anche in situazione di confinamento. Lo abbiamo fatto in grande autonomia e in autogestione, abbiamo appreso molto, ma molti nostri pari li abbiamo persi per strada. La prospettiva dovrebbe essere, sarà, quella di recuperarli e di cercare collaborazioni ed aiuti affinché la esperienza di Adulti Ancora A Scuola per Informatica di Unitre_Barga possa essere accolta e sviluppata nelle nuove possibilità che il settembre del “dopo” coronavirus renderà fruibili. 
Marianna Okomane's picture
Šī tēma noteikti tagad ir tik aktuāla kā nekad. Pavadot divus mēnešus mājās, mēs varam secināt, ka šīs digitālās zināšanas un prasmes ir kaut kas, kas pietrūkst gan studentiem, gan pasniedzējiem. Bet, kā man liekas, vairākiem studentiem paveicās, jo attālinātās mācības mums sākās diezgan operatīvi un ātri. 
Daudz grūtāk noteikti ir skolēniem, it īpaši sākumskolai, jo šajā vecumā bērniem ir grūti nopietni uztvert mācības attālināti, un daži to uzskata par brīvdienām. Bet tiešām- par kādām mācībām var būt runa kad bērns sēž pie datora ar izslēgto mikrofonu, kamēr tur no ekrāna iznāk skaņas?  
Altheo VALENTINI's picture
It has been really interesting to read all your contributions today and we hope that you will continue sharing good practices, concerns and wishes for a better and wider accessibility of learning opportunities in adult education. 

In fact, as many of you have underlined, the COVID-19 lockdown has evidenced all the positive and negative aspects of distance learning, definitely opening the floor for the co-design and experimentation of new educational approaches and inclusion strategies. 

We will continue posting blogs and news on this topic until the end of June and we would be more than happy to receive your additional contributions under the form of Community stories

As regards the EPALE online discussions, the next appointment will be on the “Future of Adult Learning” and we will inform you on due time about the exact date. 
Thank you! 
Altheo and Claudia from the EPALE CSS
Dóra STEFÁNSDÓTTIR's picture
I would have thought that there was a whole field of possibilities for adult education centres to offer digital skills for retired people. There is such a lot of new tools and possibilities that younger people take for granted but the elderly do not use, simply because they do not know how. 
James Callus's picture
Hi Dora,
Your post is really interesting and I agree with you that the elderly who lack digital skills might find it difficult to venture in new digital experiences out of their own personal initiative.  On the other hand these people have a lot of experience in life and I think that they make better use of certain tools once they have mastered the know how, something which as you pointed out the younger generation take for granted.  
Dörte Stahl's picture
Hello Dóra,
maybe this EPALE community story from Finland is interesting for you. Juhani Pörtfors and Matti Sarviranta have given ICT guidance to seniors by organizing weekly support meetings in their city. These meetings could no longer be held as usual because older people had to go to quarantine.
The two then launched the support for the seniors via Skype. It is a very interesting report because the two tell us how they reached the seniors. It was also shown that the isolation of the elderly was at least somewhat broken by these digital activities. You are now much more interested in digital opportunities than before.

Martin Dobeš's picture
Hi guys, I am an educator and a member of the Czech EPALE team. Just a brief reflection of what i percieve is happening right now regarding digital inclusion - or rather exclusion. Yesterday I had the possibility to talk to representatives of Czech parents who were dealing with the need of taking care of their children during the lockdown. It seems that those adults with fine digital competences and good internet connection recorded a step forward both in mastering higher levels of their competences but also in social inclusion with their counterparts, schools and mainly with their own families via online. The others - adults with limited digital competences and generally lower education and lower economical status have recorded quite the opposite. The were not able to establish the online facilites for their kids and themselves. It seems the lockdown has caused a substantial gap between the two groups. I believe this has been the case of many more EU countries...?
Johanni LARJANKO's picture
Yes, i quite share your sentiment. The digital divide is real, and covid-19 has made that very clear. Education cannot in itself be the solution to this complex challenge, but it can, and should definitely play an important role!