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Elektroniczna platforma na rzecz uczenia się dorosłych w Europie



Digital Societies, Digital Inclusion

by Tamás Harangozó

/nb/file/digital-societies-digital-inclusionDigital Societies, Digital Inclusion

The European Basic Skills Network is announcing an online discussion on digital inclusion of adults in the framework of the network's Capacity Building Series. The discussion is scheduled to start on 6 March, 2019 9:00 (CET) and be finalised on 7 March, 2019 17:00 (CET) and its experiences are aimed at contributing to the EBSN's forthcoming open education resource (OER) in the theme of digital inclusion.


In the framework of the current thematic focus on EPALE, issues related to digitalisation and adult learning have been targeted from a number of different approaches. There are at least two clearly distinguished foci in this matter: 

  • the utilisation of digital materials, applications, and devices as tools that facilitate and enhance all forms for learning, including basic literacy skills for adults, (see Graciela Sbertoli’s comments on digital tools for initial literacy),
  • the improvement of basic digital skills for social inclusion, which addresses the importance of the digital component in functional literacy and poses the challenge of digital divide.

By addressing the former approach (i.e. digital tools to develop basic skills) one finds a number of useful input in a previous online discussion on the use of digital tools in the provision of initial literacy and numeracy training and of language provision for immigrants. The latter approach brings up the issue of citizens with less developed digital skills becoming more and more marginalised in societies. David Mallows mentions in his blog post on the Digital Inclusion Pathway that

„As the online world encroaches ever further on the physical world we should pay great attention to digital inclusion – ensuring that each member of society is able to engage effectively with the riches of the digital world.”

In many countries the growing extent to which public services e.g. banking, public administration, taxation, etc. are becoming digitalised creates a challenge to citizens who are less digitally competent to fall behind and become more isolated and vulnerable.


Participants are encouraged to share their experiences and thoughts on the following questions:

  1. Who in your experience are the most vulnerable when it comes to ’e-services’ in societies and what are the major challenges?
  2. What programs do you know that specifically aim at including citizens with less sufficient digital skills (e.g. the elderly) into digitalised public services (e.g. e-governance systems)?
  3. What are the success criteria of any national program aiming at fighting the digital divide?

The discussion will open 9:00-17:00 CET, from 6 to 7 March.


The Capacity Building Series of EBSN provides free open educational resources (OERs) and massive online courses (MOOCs) through EPALE, to help the implementation of the European Commission recommendations on Upskilling pathways in EU Member States. EPALE is funded by the Erasmus+ programme, as part the European Commission’s ongoing commitment to improving the quality of adult learning provision in Europe. The project is implemented with the support of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).
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Graciela Sbertolis bilde
I do so agree with you, Cäcilia! Relevance is probably the most important success factor for any adult learning scheme, and the type of open courses you suggest would be excellent, I think - although maybe quite challenging for the trainer if the group is large. What I am concerned about, though, is that learning cannot stop at the point where the adult knows how to deal with all the apps he/she is in need of at the moment. If inclusion is to be sustainable, we need to go further and create an understanding, a capacity to continue learning how to cope with any new development this speedy industry is "throwing at us". Although devices are getting more and more user friendly all the time, their complexity is increasing ten times more than their userfriendliness. Just think of how easy it used to be to turn on your TV... :-)

Celia Sokolowskys bilde
Dear all,
Thank you for starting this interesting discussion! I do very much agree with what has be stressed by Cäcilia and Graciela about the importance of relevance and contextualisation for learning offers in the field of digital inclusion and adult learning schemes in general.
Now here is my question: 
We run basic education courses on a digital platform ( And yes, it seems obvious to offer a course on digital literacy/inclusion on a digital platform. 
But how can one create a context for action and relevance here?
This is not difficult with regard to the functionalities of our own learning platform, but can other services or questions such as data security on the Internet etc. be dealt with meaningfully in a course on a learning portal? What would be your approach?
Cäcilia Märkis bilde
Yes, the use of ICT is just one aspect and perhaps the one to deal with more easily.

More relevant does it seem to me to be able to understand the consequences of the ongoing developments. What are algorithms doing and how are they influencing decision making and thus shaping our lives as well as the functioning of our societies.
What consequences will arise from artificial intelligence?
Who owns personal data? Is it the state, the company or the individual? How to raise awareness about this important decision to be taken in the very near future?
What are the consequences for citizenship, for democracy, for the way we live, learn and work? And how can we influence/shape the ongoing developments?

What is the role of adult education in this respect? Talking about the use of digital media seems to be very short sighted when it comes to the overall changes induced by technological developments.

How shall we cope with this?


David Mallowss bilde
Yes, adult education needs to look beyond equipping people with the skills to be passive consumers in the digital world. There is also a great need for people to understand, for example the implications of sharing personal data and the other things that you mention Celia. I'm not sure that they need to be done in the same way or at the same time or even with the same target group (some of the most sophisticated users of digital tools are the most ignorant of the unseen consequences).
Tamás Harangozós bilde
Dear All,

Welcome to the current event on digital inclusion. The discussion is now open for reflection and your contribution. Although moderation will close at 17:00 CET, you are free to post a comment after this time. 

To begin with, we would be interested in what you see as main challenges to the digitalising e-governance services and who in your experiences are the most vulnerable in this matter?