Success Story

The "LernHaus": Never Too Old to Learn!

Erlangen, December 2014 - The Institut für Lern-Innovation (FIM NeuesLernen) of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg created a well-attended operation from an EU project that took place in the period 2004-2006: The LernHaus provides eLearning for seniors who want to gain familiarity with computers or seek further training.

So far, over 1,000 participants have made the LernHaus a success story. The tutor- accompanied online courses are aimed primarily at senior citizens in rural areas or participants whose health situation limits their mobility. "We do not compete with Germany’s adult-education system, the Volkshochschule (VHS)," says Elena Coroian, the project manager. "Our programs complement theirs."

The LernHaus is happy to cooperate with other institutions. "We offer our courses in cooperation with seniors’ organizations, local authorities, and other partners who work with seniors," explains Coroian, giving the example of cooperation with multi-generational residences. "Multi-generational residences offer a variety of services for young and old. The LernHaus courses are designed to enrich the offerings and present members of the older generation with the opportunity of using modern media to become familiar with computers and the Internet." In addition LernHaus also cooperates with the Bavarian Seniors Network Forum, the umbrella organization of the Bavarian Seniors network initiatives.

Students are divided into small, manageable groups of ten to fifteen people who work together as a learning group and are supported by online tutors. Communication takes place via email, discussion forums, and telephone. Courses are held in virtual classroom, and learning takes place in small steps and is flexible. Courses last about two months. Within this period, there is individual design freedom to organize one’s own plan in the framework of a set timeframe for the learning units. This facilitates communication about the learning process and makes it possible for learners to assist each other.