Summary

Details

Description

With 5,511,000 inhabitants, the province of Barcelona is the most populated province in Catalonia, and the second most populated in Spain. Barcelona Provincial Council (https://www.diba.cat/en) is a local government institution that promotes the progress and welfare of the territory’s citizens, working in collaboration with local institutions for the direct provision of services.

The libraries included in the province of Barcelona's Municipal Libraries Network (MLN) form part of a project implemented jointly by the local councils in the province of Barcelona and Barcelona Provincial Council. The Library Services Management Office's primary objective is for Barcelona's municipalities to efficiently create and maintain their libraries based on a networking model. Because they provide support for learning and the acquisition of skills, as well as universal and free access to digital resources and information, public libraries are strategically positioned to fight against the digital divide. This library strategy is aligned with the sustainable development goals, as libraries are essential institutions for achieving these objectives.

Mobile device training for individuals aged 55 and over is a joint initiative by the Pere Tarrés Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation in collaboration with the Municipal Libraries Network. It involves digital training aimed at individuals aged 55 years old and over in order to help them learn how to use mobile devices. It has been running since 2013 thanks to financing from the Vodafone Foundation, and the students and institutions collaborating on the project have reported high levels of satisfaction. The workshops consist of a series of training modules that teach users how to use electronic tablets and smartphones. Since it began, 2,700 users have participated in 192 workshops and in 925 hours of training. The sixth course of workshops (2018/2019) is currently in progress. A total of 30 workshops have been scheduled, which are planned to involve a total of 120 hours of training and the participation of between 450-550 users.

The workshops' immediate objective is to increase participants' knowledge of how to use mobile devices, as well as general digital literacy issues, thereby making information and communication technologies (ICTs) more accessible to the public and using training to reduce the so-called digital divide. Although the digital divide is usually considered in terms of differences in access between groups of people related to socioeconomic factors, the concept is also used to describe differences in knowledge and use of ICTs directly related to individuals' ages.

The target population is MLN users over 55 years of age who are interested in participating in the workshops. Participants had to bring their own mobile device to the training, and as such one of the requirements was to own one of these devices.

The workshops aim to help participants make the most of their devices and applications, and focus primarily on the following aspects:

  • Basic operation of the device: main functions, personalisation, diary, etc.
  • Browsing: types of connections, creating email accounts, downloading apps, electronic banking, online shopping, travel, etc.
  • Social networks: how to use the most widely used networks (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.).
  • Communication and leisure: WhatsApp, Google Maps, games, etc.
  • Storage: optimising the device's memory, deleting unnecessary files, backing up, the cloud, cleaning apps, etc. Each workshop involves four hours of training and each one is divided into two two-hour sessions.

In order to measure the extent to which the objectives are achieved and opportunities for improvement of the workshops, in 2016 the Library Services Management Office and the Planning and Evaluation Service of Barcelona Provincial Council, together with the Catalan Institute of Public Policy Evaluation (Ivàlua), decided to conduct an impact assessment of the digital training workshops aimed at people over 55 years old. The results showed that the workshop participants increased their frequency of Internet use by around 25%. The workshops had a positive impact on the frequency of use of social and leisure applications (two features covered specifically during the training), but no change in the quality or the size of the participants' social network was identified. The impact evaluation study is available here: https://www.diba.cat/documents/16060163/183803360 /presentacio_capacitacio_digital_a_York_RSabes/dee847a0-21a3-490d-bbd9-72f711ffa7f4

Success factors

These workshops are very well suited to the needs of people over 55 years old. The users bring their own devices. This project involves a working methodology and dynamics with a practical approach to solving situations in everyday life linked to communication and leisure. The participants relate to peers in the same situation and with shared interests.

In order to measure the extent to which the objectives are achieved and opportunities for improvement of the workshops, in 2016 the Library Services Management Office and the Planning and Evaluation Service of Barcelona Provincial Council, together with the Catalan Institute of Public Policy Evaluation (Ivàlua), decided to conduct an impact assessment of the digital training workshops aimed at people over 55 years old. The results showed that the workshop participants increased their frequency of Internet use by around 25%. The workshops had a positive impact on the frequency of use of social and leisure applications (two features covered specifically during the training), but no change in the quality or the size of the participants' social network was identified.

Organization details

Name of the organization
Diputació de Barcelona. Gerència de Serveis de Biblioteques
Website of the organization
Contact person
Carme Rodríguez Piñeiro