FACILITATORS’ VIEWS AND EXPERIENCES OF TEACHING OLDER ADULTS TO USE ICT

B. Muniandy, Z. Samsudin

Universiti Sains Malaysia (MALAYSIA)
There is evidence from literature around the world about older adults’ interest and readiness to learn information and communication technologies (ICTs). In fact older adults’ use of ICT including computers, the Internet and mobile communication devices has increased considerably over the last decade. There are many reasons why older adults are interested in learning to use ICT and the benefits they accrue from it. The Centre for Instructional Technology and Multimedia at Universiti Sains Malaysia has been working on a program called Building Bridges Across Generations since 2010. In the past four years, the centre has trained 190 older adults whose age ranges from 50 to 87 years old through 14 workshops held in different states in Malaysia. Most of the participants are between 55-65 years of age. The aim of the program is to teach some of the tools of ICT such as Email, Facebook, Blogging, Youtube and Online Shopping to the senior citizens so that they are not marginalized in terms of usage and access. The older adults’ way of learning to use ICT is unique and different from the way the younger generations learn. The purpose of this paper is to present the facilitators’ views and experiences of teaching older adults to use ICT. Nine facilitators who were teaching the older adults in the ICT workshops were interviewed through a focus group interview. The interview data obtained were transcribed and analyzed.

The facilitators presented their views and experiences teaching the older adults in terms of:
(a) How the older adults learn to use the tools of ICT?;
(b) What are the problems and challenges faced by the older adults while learning to use ICT? ; and
(c) What are the learning uniqueness of the older adults?

Generally the findings showed that the older adults are happy to learn to use ICT although some of them initially appeared not confident. The nature of the problems faced by them is unique and they need a special kind of attention according to their needs.