Launched in 2015, the aim of Bridging the Digital Divide is to test new methods of engagement in digital inclusion and new software designed to engage new learners, particularly those who would be very unlikely to go online without significant help.
Piloted with two groups of social housing tenants – a group of older people with health issues living in sheltered accommodation, and a group of people living with dementia in supported housing – the project used the “Breezie” tablets. Breezie is a service using Samsung tablets with special software aimed at older people that removes the clutter, jargon and confusion from the internet.
Overcoming the lack of motivation
By tailoring the course to the interests of the people involved, and by using a learner-centred approach, Supporting Communities addressed one of the major barriers to learning, which is the lack of motivation or perceived relevance, and succeeded in engaging older people with new technologies. Indeed, the project did aim to teach all of the identified basic digital skills required to safely use the internet and access the benefits it can provide, but in a more flexible way than traditional computer skills courses.
Thanks to this project, results were made in terms of digital inclusion. In addition, participants acquired a sense of connectedness to others and improved their wellbeing. More broadly, there has been a knock-on positive effect on other residents, who did not directly take part in the project but became more interested in digital skills and accessing the internet.
Supporting Communities also implemented key recommendations from the project to support digital inclusion.
The project: Bridging the Digital Divide
- Award category: National projects (United Kingdom)
- Learner target group: People with low digital skills
- Innovative practice: Tailoring the course to the interests of the people involved
- Organisation: Supporting Communities
- Contact: Healy King
The article series shares good practices on engaging new learners by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2017.