EXPERIENCES TRAINING THE ELDERLY TO USE COMPUTERS AND INTERNET

E. Garcia, A. Giret, M.A. Salido

Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (SPAIN)
Nowadays, computers play an important role in our life. The Internet is commonly used to interact with banks, administrations and to do all type of paperwork. Even more, internet is usually part of our personal and social life. However, there is a significant segment of the population that do not have digital abilities. Most of these people are elderly without experience with the use of computers. Therefore, there is a need to accommodate and involve older adults into this digital era.

In this study we present some lessons learnt during five years of teaching elderly to use computers and internet. Learning common computer concepts and computer skills is usually a big challenge for elderly. Many of them have physical problems as well as cognitive and attentional difficulties. Nevertheless, due to individual moderating factors like attitude towards technology, previous studies and health, there is a wide variety of differences between each older adult. These facts present a big challenge for teachers that should plan their courses taking into account all these drawbacks and differences.

This study analyzes the most common difficulties that older adults usually face during the learning process. Moreover, some recommendations for teaching the elderly are presented. Final, a discussion about appropriate pedagogical methodologies and course planning is presented.