WHY DO OLDER ADULTS LEARN TO USE ICT: A MALAYSIAN CASE STUDY

B. Muniandy, Z. Samsudin

Universiti Sains Malaysia (MALAYSIA)
Independent functioning without ICT skills in the world of advanced technological progress today may become difficult for older adults. The older adults have less experience using ICT and more problems of learning to use them. Older adults have a unique way of learning to use ICT. Their needs for learning to use ICT may also be different depending on their age and characteristics. The benefits accrued from learning to use ICT may also be specific to this particular population. The literature highlighted five main benefits of using ICT by the older adults.

They are:
(i) to facilitate social interaction and communication;
(ii) to improve entertainment and learning at home;
(iii) to support autonomy by providing access to information services and routine tasks such as shopping and banking; and
(iv) to improve access to health services and care givers and;
(v) to improve well-being and quality of life by providing mental stimulation and challenge.

However, these benefits may vary from time to time and from country to a country. The purpose of this paper to present the findings of why older adults learn to use ICT in Malaysia. The data is collected from 47 participants who participated in four focus group interviews held during the workshops on using ICT for older adults. Their ages ranges from 50 to 87 years old. However, most of them are aged between 55-65 years . The aims of the workshops are to teach the participants to use the tools of ICT such as E-mail, Facebook, Blogging, Youtube and Online Shopping. The interview data from the focus group interviews were carefully transcribed and analyzed. The findings among others show that the older adults are very keen and interested to learn and use ICT in their daily lives. They wished to continue learning. The knowledge and skill they obtained is beneficial and useful for their work and communication.