On the Road to Digital Skills: The launch of the careNET pilots

The pilots of the careNET project started in November 2013. They implemented and validated the careNET learning architecture, pathways and resources previously produced. The Spanish and French partners carried out trainings through a specific ICT tool, a digital tablet, involving 120 care workers and care recipients. During these trainings the participants used a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) consisting of three tools: a social network, a learning platform and a competency wiki. Through the VLE and the related “Learning Relay Centers” provided by the project partners, the trainees learn in an innovative surrounding.

In Spain, the pilot takes place in the city of Burgos. There are 29 carers involved, all women, most of them Latin American immigrants and their respective clients. The pilot began on 12th November 2013 and ended on 19th December. About 77% of participants are aged between 40 and 60 years and almost all care recipients are above 85. Most of the participants, especially those who are between 50 and 60 years old, i.e. 57% of them, have had very little contact with new technologies. This makes the learning curve very slow and fast-tracks the face-to- face sessions. The VLE is complicated to use in short deadlines for people with such a time-consuming job as elderly care. However they are enthusiastic for learning and show strong commitment and a growing curiosity to find daily and professional situations where their newly learned skills are useful. The most appreciated newly acquired competences are related to communication and information. These allow them to maintain or recover contact with their families abroad. This enthusiasm, related to new ways of communications, is shared by the people receiving care.

In France, IPERIA implements the pilot in 4 territories since 18th November 2013 and will end the process in February. The experiment involves 31 care workers and their care recipients constituting mainly women. The care workers are aged between 50 and 59 years and have various levels of digital skill proficiency. At this stage of the pilot, we observe the needs for collective face-to-face sessions dedicated to the fundamental use of the tablet and internet and to the resolution of technical problems. The French care workers are also strongly committed to the training using every tool of the VLE and putting a lot of pressure on them in order to succeed in helping their care recipients to develop digital skills. Some first testimonials highlight the benefits of learning to use digital tools on the area of social life, leisure and professional representation of French care workers. In the next weeks the care workers will begin to learn with older people becoming thus the mediator of their daily digital skills.

In the post-pilot phase we evaluate the results of the pilots and organize validation seminars in Spain and France. We will soon report the final results on the careNET website.

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