The project is divided into two strands, one aiming at the development of non-technical solutions, and the other pursuing technical solutions.

Non-technical solutions aimed for by the project can be roughly divided into “methods for mobilisation”, “methods for inclusion & motivation”, and the “creation of new types of online content and activities”. The methods developed to encourage elderly people to participate actively in online communities will result in a draft inventory of methods and in corresponding guidelines. Both, the inventory and the guidelines are intended to serve as a basis for consulting activities in the field of online communities. In order to develop and to implement new methods and activities as well as to develop the guidelines, the project heavily relies on the “action research” methodology, which allows to bring about, to observe and to evaluate social change through active interaction between researchers, elderly people, and other stakeholders in the field.

Download the Flyer of the Project


Older persons (aged 60 and above) are underrepresented both in online social communities and online collaborative projects. Considering the increasingly important role and the potential benefits of social media in most societies this poses a serious challenge. The TAO project aims on the one hand to develop efficient methods to raise the number of older persons using and benefiting from online social communities. On the other hand, its goal is to develop strategies for online collaborative projects to successfully integrate older contributors.

Expected results and impact

Once the project ends, the participating community partners should have a set of successfully tested measures for the activation and involvement of older persons in their own online communities. The operators of online communities will have a handbook containing instructions on how to activate and involve senior citizens successfully and on how to develop products and services so that they are suitable for senior citizens.


Partners involved in the TAO project

Organization Type Country Website
Bern University of Applied Sciences: Department Business, Health, Social Work R&D Switzerland www.wgs.bfh.ch
United Nations University / University Maastricht, UM-Merit R&D Netherlands www.merit.unu.edu
University of Ulm, The Centre for General Scientific Continuing Education (in short ZAWiW) R&D Netherlands www.uni-ulm.de/uni/fak/zawiw/startseite/en
Seniorweb Switzerland End User Switzerland www.seniorweb.ch
SeniorWeb.NL End User Netherlands www.seniorweb.nl
Wikimedia Switzerland End User Switzerland www.wikimedia.ch
Wikimedia Germany End User Germany www.wikimedia.de
Zeix AG SME Switzerland www.zeix.com
Access for All Foundation End User Switzerland www.access-for-all.ch
MD Systems SME Switzerland www.md-systems.ch
terzStiftung End User Switzerland www.terzstiftung.ch
  • Project name: TAO Community & Collaboration
  • Website: www.thirdageonline.eu
  • Coordinator: Bern University of Applied Sciences
  • Duration: 36 Months
  • Starting Date: 01.10.2010
  • Total budget: € 3.000.000
  • Public contribution€ 1.500.000


Beat Estermann

E.: beat.estermann@bfh.ch

T.: +41 31 848 34 38

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