The Learning and Support Preferences of Older Adults with Information and Communication Technologies

By Adam Jones and Mark Shelbourn.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

An increase in knowledge and understanding needs to be obtained about the learning and support of older adults with ICTs. This is to promote autonomy, independence and quality of life for older adults via the influence of organisations such as Age UK, policy, research and practice. It also allows older adults to explore, identify and embrace effective learning methods to further their engagement with ICTs. Both learning and ICTs can provide a wealth of opportunities from ordering goods to maintaining social contact with others.

In this paper, findings are presented on 1) The existing learning and support mechanisms that older adults use and 2) New and potential learning and support mechanisms which could be used to further older adult’s engagement with ICTs. Potential effective solutions as well as preferences for learning are provided. The barriers to the learning uptake of ICTs are also addressed. The empirical based findings show that there are a number of widely used and established learning and support mechanisms that older adults adopt, as well as new and potential ones to consider. They also show that a key method of effective learning progression is for the learner to establish and articulate their motivations and learning methods when learning how to use ICTs. The lessons learned within Further and Higher Education can inform the learning and support associated with older adults and ICTs.

Keywords: Learning, ICTs, Ageing, Older Adults, Virtual Environments

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.149-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.207MB).

Adam Jones

Doctoral Research Position, The School of Architecture and Built Design,, The Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

With a background in IT and Display Technology, my research interests are primarily in how older adults (aged 50 and over) effectively learn and are engaged with ICTs with respect to the dynamics of ageing. This will aim to further their engagement with ICTs to promote autonomy and independence.

Dr Mark Shelbourn

Senior Lecturer, Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia


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