Our research projects
In a world of increasing longevity and digitalization, “learning” in old age is an important pillar of healthy longevity. However, digital learning tools (e.g., e-learning) mostly target young generations and rarely address the needs of generation 60+. This is due to the speed of technological change, digital inequality between generations, and policies failing to match the learning competences and needs in late life. E-learning can be very effective in addressing the diverse characteristics of 60+, a group with widely varying cognitive, motivational and physical states. We revolutionize “education 60+” by developing a new e-learning concept and platform for 60+ that supports lifelong learning. Our innovative platform brings together an ecosystem of various education stakeholders and offers novel senior-oriented (a) course content and formats, (b) user experience, and (c) data analytics for individualized learning profiles.
DIZH – Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education
The goal of the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions (DIZH) is to encourage collaboration on digitalization-related issues among Zurich’s Higher Education Institutions, enhancing the region’s status as a center for research and business. Dr. Burcu Demiray has submitted an innovation project on OldSchool to DIZH with her research partners at ZHAW School of Management and Law (Dr. Zeynep Erden and Prof. Fredrik Hacklin) and practice partner SparkAdemy. The project is supported by the City of Zurich and Seniors University of Luzern. The team is developing new course content and online curricula (on contemporary topics such as digitalization) specifically tailored to the needs and interests of citizens aged 60+.
(Total budget = 598’338 CHF for 18 months)
For more information: https://dizh.ch/en/2023/02/06/revolutionizing-education60-digital-lifelong-learning/
Erasmus+60 is an innovative project that focuses on European citizens aged 60+ who have not been adequately considered in the creation of higher education institution activities, such as Erasmus+. With life expectancy rising and one in every three citizens predicted to be over 65 by 2060, the need for lifelong learning and training opportunities increases. Erasmus+60 is a three-year project involving the European University Foundation (EUF) and 7 partner universities:
- University of Porto
- University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
- University of Split
- University of Latvia
- University of Eötvös Loránd (ELTE)
- Mendel University in Brno
- University of Zurich
The team at the University of Zurich led by Dr. Burcu Demiray is responsible for the area of digitization of education for seniors. The team is consulting all partner universities on e-learning course development and leading the course production efforts. The long-term goal is to unite all partners on one platform for their senior learners.
(Total budget = 274’934 EUR)
For more information: https://www.erasmusplus60.uvsq.fr
Projects in Dr. Demiray’s research group
Does the sense of social presence influence the learning performance of senior university students in an e-learning environment?
In studies on learning motivation, it has been shown that older people more often report being motivated to learn by the motive of belonging. Furthermore, research is emerging that social elements can improve learning performance. These findings are both applied and examined in this study. It will test the extent to which social elements integrated into an e-learning course increase social presence and influence learning performance. For this study we are still looking for study participants who are older than 60 years.
If you have any questions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning together online – How to get started with e-learning?
As we age, e-learning opens up a world of possibilities: Flexibility Convenience and cost-effectiveness are just a few advantages. Yet older adults have inhibitions using e-learning programs. Our goal is to work with members of the Senior:innenuniversität in a co-development process to create a four-part module on how to get started with e-learning. Social interaction, technical support and motivational processes are the focus. We don’t just want to provide knowledge, but to create a fulfilling and stimulating learning experience!
If you have any questions, please contact: email@example.com
Workforce 50+ Attitudes toward aging and participation in job-related training
Adults aged 50+ are becoming an increasingly important part of the workforce. At the same time, continuous technological development has led to changes in the labor market and in the skills required for work. This increases the need for education and training of the workforce. In this study, we are particularly interested in attitudes toward this issue among the working population aged 50+. The study explores motivation to participate in learning opportunities, attitudes toward aging, and their influence on learning participation. For this purpose, we are searching for study participants aged 50-65 who are employed in a company. Data collection is expected to begin in mid-May 2023.
For questions and information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does e-learning tailored to the age of learners lead to a greater learning success?
In this Master’s thesis, the first step is to adapt a module of the e-learning course “Studium Digitale” to the needs of people over 60. Subsequently, it is tested whether the adaptation for seniors leads to better learning performance than the original learning module. In terms of content, participants can deepen their knowledge of how to use the Internet and online media. Finally, we ask whether the adaptation of the module contributes to a higher satisfaction of the participants.
Enhancing U3A Students’ Social Presence in an E-Learning Course
The focus of the Master’s thesis of Kathrin Inerle is on the social aspects in e-learning. Which methods exist and are suitable to strengthen a sense of social presence? Do these social methods actually promote the quality of an e-learning experience and satisfaction with the e-learning course? Participants in this study test an e-learning course in which social elements have been implemented and provide feedback on it. The results will be used to improve the quality of future e-learning courses. The study is currently conducted.