Learning, Teaching and Training Week at University of Split

WiseLearn Plattform/ September 29, 2023

In September, a highlight of our Erasmus+60 project took place. A team from Zurich traveled to Split for the Learning, Teaching and Training Week to develop e-learning courses together with representatives from other universities. Here, the team reports what they have experienced:

Once upon a time, there were three recently retired but highly motivated seniors. They wanted to learn more and share their experiences with others. They applied as representatives of the University of Zurich (UZH) for the learning week in Split/Croatia, which was organized within the research project “Erasmus+60” (https://www.erasmusplus60.uvsq.fr/).

“It’s like an addiction: at the Seniors University of Zurich there are so many interesting lectures, you always want to learn more, and on top of that, an event in Split – I had to go!”

Martin Färber, Participant of the learning week

“I was curious, wanted to get to know new things, but also wanted to give something back! And besides this, my wife was quite happy that I was away for a week once…”

Paul Kühne, Participant of the learning week

“Even after retirement, I am still eager to learn new things. I am convinced that lifelong learning is important to stay mentally fit. For older people, this is becoming increasingly important as we have to deal with modern technology and digitization trends (think of self-scanning in stores, online media, digital tickets and so on …). I want to make my contribution so that older people can better cope with this. That’s why it was an exciting opportunity for me to put the digital offerings developed by the various universities to a practical test.”

Remo Pianezzi, Participant of the learning week

After a successfully passed (and difficult 😉) assessment, things got underway on September 4, 2023 at the ‘SPINIT inkubator’ in Split on the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. The seniors from 7 different European Universities from Latvia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, France, Switzerland, and Croatia got to know each other during the first workshop, which was about healthy nutrition, while preparing lunch together.

“With a twinkle in his eye, someone said: ‘Vegetable smoothies and salad are good and healthy. But a hearty Wiener Schnitzel is not to be sneezed at either!’”

Paul Kühne, Participant of the learning week

Universities are conducting research on healthy aging and longevity. So, we learned that in addition to eating healthy, physical, social and mental health are important. For this purpose, we imagine a house (affectionately called the “Golden-Agers’ Home”) with three pillars supporting the roof – as long as all the pillars are standing (see figure on the right).

“All aspects are important in this house. For me personally, mental agility plays a big role. That’s why I learn languages. I am also fascinated by reading books in the language I want to learn and then discussing the content with others who are interested, to practice the language even more. In this way I strengthen both, the pillars of mental and social health!”

Remo Pianezzi, Participant of the learning week

“‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ (a sound mind in a sound body) – if the ancient Romans already knew that, then it’s probably still true today for the 60+ generation!”

Martin Färber, Participant of the learning week

Presentations were given on the following topics:

  • Computer skills (to cope with everyday life becoming more digital)
  • Gardening (as a meaningful activity even in urban areas with little space)
  • Critical thinking (to be able to recognize deception through fake news, for example)
  • Cultural diversity (similarities and differences of various religions)
  • Travel stories (and health tourism)
  • Physical activities (healthy aging through hands-on activities)

The involved universities are developing e-learning modules on all these interesting aspects, which we have tested for their usability in teams made up of people from different countries. The e-learning format makes it possible to learn a subject from home on a PC, laptop or tablet using an attractive mix of videos, scripts, slides, quizzes and exercises, whenever one has the time and desire to do so. The goal is that the e-learning modules will be available for seniors learning throughout Europe.

“What excites me about this learning format is that everyone can learn things, whenever you have the time and at your own pace. Plus, you can repeat it as often as you want.”

Remo Pianezzi, Participant of the learning week

“E-learning: always available for me, when and where and how much I want… and the fear of technology goes away very quickly, at the latest after the second successful log-in 🙂.”

Martin Färber, Participant of the learning week

The host university also organized interesting excursions to various UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Thus, we visited Diocletian’s Palace, in which today the city center of Split is located. We also went to Trogir with its well-preserved old town, which is located on a small island connected to the mainland by bridges. Additionally, the visit to the University of Split at the Department of Maritime Studies (with ship simulator and planetarium) was very impressive.

It was a very interesting and instructive working week with wonderful weather, during which we had many inspiring and exciting conversations with the seniors from the other countries.

“One participating university’s live presentation was about best practices in intergenerational learning. Then, when they faced technical difficulties showing videos, I was able to help, demonstrating directly and practically that the young can also benefit from the experience of the old.”

Remo Pianezzi, Participant of the learning week

“The Learning Week was a success for us in the research team, because we were finally able to present our work to the target group and ask: What do you think of the e-learning course? What would you improve? The feedback affects further development of our offerings. For me, it was above all an enriching exchange between the generations. I listened a lot and was able to learn from the experiences of the ‘senior experts’.”

Kathrin Inerle, WiseLearn employee

We would like to thank the representative from the University of Zurich (Kathrin Inerle), who accompanied us with her charming manner during this week. The atmosphere was always excellent and there was never a shortage of humor – we were simply a super team.

“I learned from my team-mates: when you help each other, it’s more fun and almost everything goes better, even a week without a laptop charging cable is possible 🙂.”

Martin Färber, Participant of the learning week

“The learning week was a great enrichment for me. The exchange with the seniors from different countries showed me that we are all in the same boat. The crucial thing is that you still want to make a difference yourself.”

Remo Pianezzi, Participant of the learning week

Thus, the three seniors returned to Switzerland on September 9, 2023, satisfied and with many new experiences and insights in their pockets. They are now even more motivated and are already looking forward to the upcoming lectures at the University of Zurich and the publication of the finished e-learning courses.

“I take away ideas and suggestions for my own activities. Not only from the presented courses, but also from the personal conversations and encounters.”

Paul Kühne, Participant of the learning week

Bottom line: it’s never too late to learn something – use it or lose it.

Stay healthy and curious!

Martin Färber, Paul Kühne, Remo Pianezzi