old man learning technology

Tips to teach digital education with older adults

Teaching digital education to older adults is not just about digital education. It sounds like a bluff, but indeed digital education is only a part of the experience.

Here you are the main tips on how to teach digital education for adults.

Become familiar with your students

Show true understanding and check their needs, their personal expectations on a frequent basis. Bond with seniors to create a cosy atmosphere and respect their relationships

Explain the value

Show immediate application of what you are explaining.

Vary your classes

Making indoors and outdoors activity is always a good idea to engage seniors and to have some nice walking, for example. Combine also theory with practical activities in order to increase participation and engagement.

Prevent potential obstacles

Since you are teaching digital skills to seniors, there might be a number of challenges that can take place and make the learning process more difficult. Thus, as educator, it is good to take some time before each lesson/session and think of potential obstacles that can occur and cause confusion and distraction. In this way, you can prevent many unpleasant situations.

Use easy language

Use common language coming from everyday life experience – make comparisons and refer to what seniors already know. In addition, make sure that the message reaches the learner clearly and correctly

Slow pace of learning

It is always best to divide material into very short topics and repeat as much as possible. Not overloading is key to the work.

The last thing you want to do is get them feeling too overwhelmed and then they give up because you gave them too many tasks to try by themselves.

Constantly refresh previous concepts

Keep in mind that seniors cannot memorise lots of information. Repetition helps them remember things easier and master the knowledge they acquired. Taking some time to refresh previous topics during each class, will help them associate previous and new concepts and remember more information.

Write it down

Since writing by hand is something that they are used to, get them a notebook specifically for writing down any steps they need to remember.

If they get lost or forget how to do something, they can jog their memory from their own handwriting.

Patience is key

It is important to stop a lot and take time for them to ask questions. The more engaged they are, the more they will take in and learn.

Give them confidence

Celebrate the small victories. Focus on the positives and what they are doing right and they will want to continue using it.

It is not just about learning

Seniors expect to be entertained or to do practical activities that can break their learning effort. Making things which can be indirectly related to digital learning can vary the learning experience and deliver it as more concrete.

Make resources available and easily accessible

When you visit any video, or show any presentation, make them available and shareable, so that elderly people can read material also when they are home.

Make technology friendly

Define games which can encourage team spirit and progressive familiarity with digital tools. For example, making activities more engaging means to divide the activities into chunks and do not relate them directly to the hard learning.

Talk about safety, both in offline and online life

Compare offline and online safety and reflect on concrete life situations, making understand the relations between digital and offline work.

Evaluation is required

It is important to apply small and frequent evaluation to check on their progress and knowledge/skills’ acquisition. If they have gaps and they do not solve them at an early stage, they might lose their motivation and patience. So, checking up their level of understanding is important for an educator to design his/her next teaching moves.

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