Supporting older adults in using mobile devices

EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2017. ATEGAL believes that mobile devices are tools that allow more adults to be connected and can prevent social isolation.

As the population of Galicia is facing demographic ageing, especially older adults need support in learning how to use mobile devices. ATEGAL believes that mobile devices are tools that allow more adults to be connected and can prevent social isolation, especially in a region characterized by geographic dispersion of population. Tapping into this potential, ATEGAL started delivering courses on the use of smartphones and tablets for the whole region of Galicia, in cooperation with the Vodafone Foundation Spain.

“We want to promote the formation in the use and management of Smartphones as an instrument for daily life of people, as a tool that improves their day-to-day, as an excellent channel of communication and permanent contact with today’s society. In this way we will be fostering the autonomy of people and the possibility of staying in their homes since they will not be reluctant to technology. Today, technological resources allow keeping a permanent contact with people and detecting possible necessities in real time,” says Paula Sande.

Face-to-face learning

The last edition of the training took place between November 2016 and March 2017. The trainings were delivered face-to-face in small groups of 10-15 people and lasted 6-8 hours. To engage as many people as possible, the trainings were organised in local entities, town halls and centres for senior citizens.

“We wanted to go to places where senior persons spend time, offering practical and real training with his smartphone and adapting the contents and methodology to the target group,” Paula Sande explains.

In each session the learners used their telephone, connected to the internet and practiced the course contents in a practical way. They were also given a manual edited by the Vodafone Foundation Spain with the contents of the course, as well as a series of links to explanatory training videos.

The trainings organised by ATEGAL have already had a significant impact. Over 2000 older learners have been trained in the whole region of Galicia and, according to the Galician Institute of Statistics, there has been a 75% increase in the use of mobile phones among adults over 65 years of age. 70% of the participating entities request another edition of the training every year, for new learners and at new levels.

The project: Proyecto Smart Ategal Ageing On Way
  • Award category: National projects (Spain)
  • Learner target group: People with low digital skills, especially older adults
  • Innovative practice: Going to where the learners are, not inviting them to where you are

Project coordinator

  • Organisation: Asociación Cultural Gallega de Formación Permanente de Adultos (ATEGAL)
  • Contact: Paula Sande Nieto


The article series shares good practices on engaging new learners by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2017.

Text: EAEAPhotos: Smart Ategal

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