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Abstract

The number of lifelong learning institutes serving older adults in the U.S. has increased in the last few decades. To date, these institutes have functioned primarily in traditional, in-person classroom, and seminar formats; however, technology-enhanced methods may help provide greater access to high-quality lifelong learning experiences. This research note reports the results of a cross-institutional survey of Osher Lifelong Learning Network participants. The survey partici-pants' high levels of computer utilization and experience with modern distance education capabilities opens the possibility that Technology-Based Instruction (TBI) can augment or supplement in-person lifelong learning experiences. Specifically, TBI may be effective in expanding access for older adults who have mobility or other health limitations, as well as those who live far from the location of any such program. Example approaches are suggested for developing blended, hybrid in-person, and online lifelong learning environments , which may offer enriching intellectual engagement and meaningful socialization.

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... Through an exit survey in a study by Chen et al. [8], older adult learners indicated that they enjoyed learning in a group format as opposed to an individual format. Therefore, learning in settings, such as training, small discussion groups [17], or workshops, has been recommended for older adult learners, since they need help to explore technologies and facilitate their learning process [42]. Furthermore, using technology in a group discussion setting fosters an encouraging and cooperative environment, which further contributes to the leisure experience among older adult learners [11]. ...
... Older adult learners enjoyed learning by sharing their experiences and opinions [8,10]. They prefer an experience-based learning approach in an active environment, for instance, using an online learning platform, so that they can share their life experiences, opinions, and expectations with different generations of learners [10,17,34,44]. ...
... The first sub-theme is audio-visuals. Previous research has highlighted that the use of explanatory videos in learning digital technologies is effective in maintaining the attention of older adult learners [17,41]. In fact, live videoconferencing is useful as it allows live discussions between instructors and learners in some situations [17]. ...
Article
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An ageing population is a universal phenomenon experienced worldwide. In parallel with these demographic changes, a significant breakthrough in digital devices has also influenced this digital age. Designing instructional strategies to promote meaningful learning among older adult learners has been a long-standing challenge. To enhance older adults’ life-long learning experiences, implementing instructional strategies in the process through which such adults learn can help to improve effective learning. Despite significant calls for research in this area, there is still insufficient research that systematically reviews the existing literature on older adult learning needs and preferences. Hence, in the present article, a systematic literature review was conducted of the effectiveness of instructional strategies designed for older adult learners through the use of digital technologies. The review was guided by the publication standard, which is ROSES (Reporting Standard for Systematic Evidence Syntheses). This study involves articles selected from two established databases, Web of Science and Scopus. Data from the articles were then analysed using the thematic analysis, which resulted in six main themes: (1) collaborative learning; (2) informal learning setting; (3) teaching aids; (4) pertinence; (5) lesson design; and (6) obtaining and providing feedback. The six main themes produced a further 15 sub-themes. The results from this study make significant contributions in the areas of instructional design and gerontology. The findings from this study highlight several important strategies of teaching digital technology, particularly for older adults, as follows: (1) to enhance instructional design use in teaching digital technology based on the needs and preferences of older adult learners; and (2) to highlight the factors for, and impact of, learning digital technologies among older adults.
... Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can help individuals stay connected with family members and re-tool, but still keep up, their family traditions [6]. ICT has been posited as a tool for decreasing barriers to lifelong learning and increasing age-friendliness [26]. Some researchers have suggested that caregivers for older adults in their later years (e.g., family members) could be welcomed into their loved ones' lifelong learning experiences [27]. ...
... Intergenerational learning experiences may provide meaningful ways to accomplish these four learning outcomes, but more research and practice insights are needed. The comments regarding distance show the importance of embracing ICT and other tools to overcome barriers to lifelong learning [1,26]. Innovative intergenerational programs can be built around family storytelling, which may help improve family relationships. ...
Article
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Family relationships and systems are important in older adulthood. Families often provide social support and care for individuals in later life. Still, the effects of family phenomena on lifelong learning decisions, behaviors, and experiences require more research. This exploratory study looks at the importance of family phenomena to older adult lifelong learners and notes direct and indirect links to learning choices and behaviors. A semi-structured interview approach was undertaken. Content analysis was utilized to identify salient family codes. Eight core codes were elucidated: (1) family backgrounds; (2) family changes; (3) family distance; (4) family education; (5) perceptions of the family’s future; (6) family history; (7) family influence; and, (8) family stories. Family stories were the most prevalent code across the 21 interviews analyzed. Insights for research and practice are shared, so that family phenomena are not overlooked in future lifelong learning endeavors.
... Consequently, educational delivery has evolved from purely face-to-face to varying degrees of blended and distance learning modes (Raja & Nagasubramani, 2018;Tatili et al., 2016). Also, emerging communication technologies, including social networking applications, are being utilized to facilitate distance education through the internet (Hansen et al., 2020;Narkprasit & Popovici, 2018;Tang & Hew, 2017). These innovations have improved access to learning resources and enhanced synchronous and asynchronous communication among learners and between learners and teachers (Pimmer & Rambe, 2018). ...
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Many educators are concerned about students’ use of WhatsApp for learning purposes, especially in emergency remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study applied the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model to examine factors that predict distance students’ acceptance of WhatsApp for learning. Correlational design was employed. Questionnaires were used to collect data from 273 undergraduate and post-graduate diploma distance students in Ghana. Data were analyzed using partial least squares-structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). The results showed that performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, and facilitating conditions are significant predictors of distance students’ intentions to use WhatsApp to support learning. However, mobile phone self-efficacy without mediation was not a significant predictor of behavioral intention. Finally, use behavior was significantly predicted by behavioral intention but not facilitating conditions. It was recommended, among other things, that before adopting WhatsApp for instructional activities, management and faculties of educational institutions should ensure the availability of suitable conditions such as WhatsApp-supported mobile devices for students’ use.
... Only one of the articles [59] has a very different demographic from the others, either in terms of gender or in terms of schooling level. Two student-focused articles used data from the same questionnaire completed by students at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in the United States [64,65]. Demographic characteristics are seen for 2014 and 2016. ...
Article
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An aging population and a digital society are realities. There is a need to equip older people with knowledge and computer skills so that they can participate in society, without feeling excluded or being marginalized. Third age universities are organizations around the world that specialize in teaching and learning for senior students in a more informal and more integrated way than other educational institutions. The objective of this study was to identify the existing quality publications that deal with the subject of computer education at senior universities. The SCOPUS and Web of Science databases were used, and 18 records were found according to the adopted criteria. It was found that these articles, depending on their focus, can be divided into four groups: educators, organizations/directors, students, and conceptual/review papers. Through these articles, it was possible to draw a picture of what older people’s computer learning is like, what barriers exist for students to not be able to attend these classes, as well as tips on how courses should be organized and the pedagogical methodologies that must be adopted. It is intended that this article is used as a good tool for people who work in teaching information technology to the elderly, and especially for course directors who intend to create or reformulate courses of this type for this specific age group.
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Internet use by older people has increased dramatically during the past 10 years. According to different sources, the number of users over age 65 has more than doubled since 2000. Besides, the inevitable effect of younger users aging will increase the number of older people using the Internet the next decades. Unfortunately, older people face several challenges when using the web due to diminishing capacities related to aging, such as vision decline, hearing loss, decremented motor skills and cognition issues. On the other hand, e-learning can be an opportunity in helping older people become integrated with the rest of society. In this context, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) bring great opportunities to enhance the quality of life of older people by enabling lifelong learning and inclusion in learning communities. However, MOOCs can present some barriers that could hamper full participation by elderly students. In order to avoid these barriers, MOOCs have to meet different user needs, skills and situations: MOOCs have to successfully address web accessibility challenges for elderly students. The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness towards a better understanding of the web accessibility challenges that elderly students of MOOCs face.
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While much literature has been devoted to theoretical explanations of the learning processes of older adults and to the methods of teaching best utilized in older populations, less has focused on the education of older adults who reside in assisted and independent living communities (AICs), especially with regards to information and communication technology (ICT) education. The purpose of this study is to determine whether participants' attitudes and views towards computers and the Internet are affected as a result of participating in an eight-week training program designed to enhance computer and Internet use among older adults in such communities. Specifically, we examine if ICT education specially designed for AIC residents results in more positive attitudes towards ICTs and a perceived decrease in factors that may limit or prevent computer and Internet use. We discuss the implications of these results for enhancing the quality of life for older adults in AICs and make recommendations for those seeking to decrease digital inequality among older adults in these communities through their own ICT classes.
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This Statistics in Brief investigates participation in distance education using the most current nationally representative student-reported data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Specifically, the data come from the three most recent administrations of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, which were conducted during the 1999-2000, 2003-04, and 2007-08 academic years (NPSAS:2000, NPSAS:04, and NPSAS:08). This Statistics in Brief's use of student-reported data allows for exploration of how participation in these courses varies with student characteristics. Key findings include: (1) From 2000 to 2008, the percentage of undergraduates enrolled in at least one distance education class expanded from 8 percent to 20 percent, and the percentage enrolled in a distance education degree program increased from 2 percent to 4 percent; (2) Compared with all students, students studying computer science and those studying business enrolled at higher rates in both distance education classes (27 percent and 24 percent, respectively, vs. 20 percent) and distance education degree programs (8 percent and 6 percent, respectively, vs. 4 percent); (3) Participation in a distance education course was most common among undergraduates attending public 2-year colleges; 22 percent were so enrolled. Participation in a distance education degree program was most common among undergraduates attending for-profit institutions; 12 percent were so enrolled; (4) Older undergraduates and those with a dependent, a spouse, or full-time employment participated in both distance education classes and degree programs relatively more often than their counterparts; and (5) Students with mobility disabilities enrolled in a distance education course more often than students with no disabilities (26 percent compared with 20 percent), but no other statistically significant difference between students with and without disabilities was detected. (Contains 4 tables, 8 figures and 10 footnotes.)
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Incl. abstract & bibl. The creation of technologically-based 'virtual education' has been portrayed as a means of widening access to learning opportunities for those currently excluded from participation in lifelong education and training. Now in the UK these claims are being operationalized under the 'University for Industry' initiative and associated Virtual College programmes all of which aim to make real the concept of Britain as a 'learning society' for all with an emphasis on reaching those traditionally seen as non-participants in learning. This paper examines these claims in the light of current knowledge about the characteristics of non-participants in lifelong learning and the barriers that they face. It is suggested that the application of 'technological fixes' to underlying socio-economic determinants of participation will solve some problems, create others, and leave many unaffected. In this way the paper argues for independent research on the impact of the 'virtual college' movement, and begins to outline the form such research could take
Tech adoption climbs among older adults
  • M Anderson
  • A Perrin
Anderson, M., & Perrin, A. (2017). Tech adoption climbs among older adults. Pew Research Center Report. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/17/technology-use-among-seniors/.
The role of quality in online higher education
  • A Kilburn
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Kilburn, A., Kilburn, B., & Hammond, K. (2017). The role of quality in online higher education. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 17(7), 80-86.
Fulfilling the promise: Do MOOCs reach the educationally underserved? Educational Media International
  • L Schmid
  • K Manturuk
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  • M Goldwasser
  • K E Whitfield
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Email request for institutional research and information
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