An increasing number of European countries are implementing online civic and commercial services to enable easier, cheaper and faster administrative operations for citizens. The future trend is obvious:
The demand of such services will increase and so will the implementation by governments and businesses. Even though e-Government and e-Commerce offer many benefits, using such services requires a certain level of digital skills and know-how, which some people lack.
This is the starting point of the project My e-Start which aims at creating and applying a simple online course to teach people how to use e-Government and e-Commerce services.
The goal of My e-Start is to equip people with the necessary skills to use the most common e-Government and e-Commerce services in their countries (eg e-banking, tax declaration, use of eID cards). The project team cares about giving learners a positive (first) e-experience and a sense of digital achievement.
The explicit aim of My e-Start is to contribute to the digital inclusion of disadvantaged groups of people and address the digital gap by designing, developing and promoting sustainable and tailored products, which are widely applicable and highly impactful.
The main output of the project is the development of an extremely simple online course and a user-friendly e-platform adapted to the specific needs of the target group. Both the online course and the e-platform will have an emphasis on the use of ‘easy language’, simple instructions, clear visual elements and well-structured content to avoid confusion and overtaxing of the target group. The aim of the online course is to provide people with very basic knowledge about common e-Government and e-Commerce services in their countries and how to use them. To ensure an implementation of the course in different contexts and environments, My e-Start will design and develop a comprehensive manual for those adult educators and training providers working with the target group and intending to implement the online course in their curricula.
The increasing trend of internet usage does not automatically lead to an increase in digital skills. Moreover, the continually expanding access to the internet leads to an even bigger 'digital gap'. The ‘digital gap’ is “the gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard to both their opportunities to access information and communication technologies and to their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities”. Disadvantaged groups of people, in particular, are suffering under the growing gap and need help in acquiring the relevant skills necessary for using e-services. My e-Start will therefore focus on a target group particularly vulnerable to digital exclusion, namely the elderly, disadvantaged individuals with low education and training levels and people with a migration background.