An increasing number of classes with varying formats, content, and instructional approaches have been developed to enhance computer learning among older adults. Evaluation studies on the best practices in training older adults (OA) computer skills have been limited to the perspective of the researchers, professionals, or consumers. This research uses a multidimensional framework, which conceives of best practices as an approach that incorporates empirical research with the experiences of consumers and practitioners (Petr & Walter, 2005). We assessed best practices for teaching computers from OA, computer instructors, and geriatric social workers. The goal was to assess similarities of the instructional practices OA consider helpful and to compare them with social workers and computer instructors. The ultimate goal was to contribute to the discussion on enhancing lifelong learning for OA with technology from a multidisciplinary perspective. The study utilized surveys and interviews with 58 geriatric social workers, 48 computer instructors, and 84 OA. The survey was developed from a review of research on lifelong learning and qualitative interviews with computer instructors and OA. The three groups rated the structure, content, and pedagogical approaches of computer classes. ANOVA repeated measures indicated there were more similarities for training OA computers than the Internet. The two groups of professionals as well as OA were in agreement with the features of effective computer classes. There were significant differences on pedagogical approaches and content. A multidisciplinary perspective is applied to an examination of incorporating best practices for enhancing technology learning for older adults.
|Keywords:||Computers, Older Adults, Computer Training, Information Technology, Technology Adoption, Human Computer Interface, Community Informatics|
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social Work, Dominican University, River Forest, IL, USA
Professor, Computer Science, Dominican University, River Forest, IL, USA
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