Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Outcomes from a peer tutor model for teaching technology to older adults

  • AMANDA TOLER WOODWARD (a1), PAUL P. FREDDOLINO (a1), DONA J. WISHART (a2), LOUANNE BAKK (a3), RIE KOBAYASHI (a4), CAITLIN TUPPER (a1), JOHN PANCI (a2) and CHRISTINA M. BLASCHKE-THOMPSON (a1)...

Abstract

A key component of social work ethics is social justice and equitable access to resources. Increasingly, this includes access to technology. This study addresses issues related to the ‘digital divide’ by testing a peer tutor model (Technology and Aging Project, TAP2) to teach adults aged 60 and older how to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as email, the internet, online chat rooms and discussion groups, internet-based support groups, and voice technology and webcams. Participants from the control group of a previous programme, TAP1 (N=19) participated in a six-month computer training programme. Six participants who had successfully completed the TAP1 training were selected to be peer tutors. Data were collected from tutors and learners at baseline, three months, six months and nine months (three months after the end of training). The current study reports on learner outcomes only. Measures include computer, social support, and mental health-related outcomes. Learners reported a significant and consistent increase over time in their confidence completing certain computer-related tasks and their overall use of ICTs. Mental health and social support outcomes did not change. Overall, the peer tutor model appeared to be at least as effective as the previous staff-directed model.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Amanda Toler Woodward, School of Social Work, Michigan State University, 655 Auditorium Road, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824, USA. E-mail: awoodwar@msu.edu

References

Hide All
Adler, R. 2006. Older Americans, Broadband and the Future of the Net. Available online at http://www.seniornet.org/research/SeniorNetNNPaper060606.pdf [Accessed 30 August 2008].
Antonucci, T. C. 1986. Social support networks: hierarchical mapping technique. Generations, 10, Summer, 1012.
Beckenhauser, J. I. and Armstrong, J. 2009. Exploring relationships between normative aging, technology, and communication. Marriage and Family Review, 45, 6–8, 825–44.
Blaschke, C. M., Freddolino, P. P. and Mullen, E. E. 2009. Ageing and technology: a review of the research literature. British Journal of Social Work, 39, 4, 641–56.
Blit-Cohen, E. and Litwin, H. 2004. Elder participation in cyberspace: a qualitative analysis of Israeli retirees. Journal of Aging Studies, 18, 4, 385–98.
Bradley, N. and Poppen, W. 2003. Assistive technology, computers and Internet may decrease sense of isolation for homebound elderly and disabled persons. Technology and Disability, 15, 1, 1925.
British Association of Social Workers 2002. The Code of Ethics for Social Work. British Association of Social Workers, Birmingham, UK.
Campbell, R. J. 2004. Older women and the Internet. Journal of Women and Aging, 16, 1/2, 161–74.
Carpenter, B. D. and Bunday, S. 2007. Computer use among older adults in a naturally occurring retirement community. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 6, 3012–24.
Chen, W., Boase, J. and Wellman, B. 2008. The global villagers: comparing Internet users and uses around the world. In Wellman, B. and Haythornthwaite, C. (eds), The Internet in Everyday Life. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, pp. 74113.
Clark, F. and Straka, S. M. 2000. Internet Access for Frail Seniors: The Connections Experience. McGill Centre for Studies in Aging, Verdun, Canada.
Czaja, S. J., Charness, N., Fisk, A. D., Hertzog, C., Nair, S. N., Rogers, W. A. and Sharit, J. 2006. Factors predicting the use of technology: findings from the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE). Psychology and Aging, 21, 2, 333–52.
Czaja, S. J. and Lee, C. C. 2003. The impact of the Internet on older adults. In Charness, N. and Schaie, K. W. (eds), The Impact of Technology on Successful Aging. Springer, New York, pp. 113–33.
De Jong Gierveld, J. and Van Tilburg, T. 2006. A 6-item scale for overall, emotional, and social loneliness: confirmatory tests on survey data. Research on Aging, 28, 5, 582–98.
Eastman, J. K. and Iyer, R. 2004. The elderly's use and attitude towards the Internet. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 21, 3, 208–20.
Flanagan, J. C. 1978. A research approach to improving our quality of life. American Psychologist, 33, 2, 138–47.
Fox, S. 2004. Older Americans and the Internet. Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, Washington DC.
Fox, S. 2010. Four in Ten Seniors Go Online. Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, Washington DC.
Gatto, S. L. and Tak, S. H. 2008. Computer, Internet, and e-mail use among older adults: benefits and barriers. Educational Gerontology, 34, 9, 800–11.
Hickman, J. M., Rogers, W. A. and Fisk, A. D. 2007. Training older adults to use new technology. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 62B, Special Issue 1, 7784.
International Federation of Social Workers 2005. Ethics in Social Work, Statement of Principles. Available online at http://www.ifsw.org/p38000324.html [Accessed 27 May 2011].
Irizarry, C., Downing, A. and West, D. 2002. Promoting modern technology and Internet access for under-represented older populations. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 19, 4, 1330.
Jung, Y., Peng, W., Moran, M., Jin, S.-A. A., McLaughlin, M., Cody, M., Jordan-Marsh, M., Albright, J. and Silverstein, M. 2010. Low-income minority seniors’ enrollment in a cybercafé: psychological barriers to crossing the digital divide. Educational Gerontology, 36, 3, 192212.
Laganá, L., Oliver, T., Ainsworth, A. and Edwards, M. 2011. Enhancing computer self-efficacy and attitudes in multi-ethnic older adults: a randomised controlled study. Ageing & Society, 31, 6, 911–33.
Leveille, S. G., Wagner, E. H., Davis, C., Grothaus, L., Wallace, J., LoGerfo, M. and Kent, D. 1998. Preventing disability and managing chronic illness in frail older adults: a randomized trial of a community-based partnership with primary care. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 46, 10, 1191–8.
Madden, M. 2010. Older Adults and Social Media: Social Networking Use Among Those Ages 50 and Older Nearly Doubled Over the Past Year. Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project, Washington DC.
Manna, W. C., Belchior, P., Tomita, M. R. and Kemp, B. J. 2005. Computer use by middle-aged and older adults with disabilities. Technology and Disability, 17, 1, 19.
Melenhorst, A. S. and Rogers, W. A. 2006. Older adults’ motivated choice for technological innovation: evidence for benefit-driven selectivity. Psychology and Aging, 21, 1, 190–5.
Murphy, C. A., Coover, D. and Owens, S. V. 1989. Development and validation of the Computer Self-Efficacy Scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 49, 4, 893–9.
Nair, S. N., Czaja, S. J. and Sharit, J. 2007. A multilevel modeling approach to examining individual differences in skill acquisition for a computer-based task. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 62B, Special Issue 1, 8596.
Namazi, K. H. and McClintic, M. 2003. Computer use among elderly persons in long-term care facilities. Educational Gerontology, 29, 6, 535–50.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) 2005. Standards for Technology and Social Work Practice. NASW and ASWB, Washington DC.
Office for National Statistics 2011. Internet Access Quarterly Update 2011 Q3. Available online at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_242415.pdf [Accessed 5 March 2012].
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2011. Understanding the Digital Divide. Paris: OECD. Available online at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/38/57/1888451.pdf [Accessed 5 March 2012].
Osman, A., Poulson, D. and Nicolle, C. 2005. Introducing computers and the Internet to older users: findings from the Care OnLine project. University Access in the Information Society, 4, 1, 1623.
Pew Research Center 2010. Internet and American Life Project: 2010 Social Side of the Internet Survey. Available online at http://www.pewinternet.org/Static-Pages/Trend-Data/Whos-Online.aspx [Accessed 27 May 2011].
Pfeil, U., Zaphiris, P. and Wilson, S. 2009. Older adults’ perceptions and experiences of online social support. Interacting with Computers, 21, 3, 159–72.
Primrose, J. 2003. 2001 Census: Computer and Internet Use. Census Paper No. 03/03, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.
Rabe-Hesketh, S. and Skrondai, A. 2005. Multilevel and Longitudinal Modeling Using Stata. Stata Press, College Station, Texas.
Redding, T. R., Eisenman, G. and Rugolo, J. 1998. Training in Technology for Late Adopters: Learning in Retirement, Computers for Seniors. R and R Advantage Educational Research and Marketing, Palm Beach, Florida. Available online at http://www.oltraining.com/redding/R&R/seniors.html [Accessed 27 May 2011].
Rose, M. 2007. Evaluation of a peer-education program on heart disease prevention with older adults. Public Health Nursing, 9, 4, 242–7.
Rosenthal, R. L. 2008. Older computer-literate women: their motivations, obstacles, and paths to success. Educational Gerontology, 34, 7, 610–26.
Saunders, E. J. 2004. Maximizing computer use among the elderly in rural senior centers. Educational Gerontology, 30, 7, 573–85.
Selwyn, N. 2004. The information aged: a qualitative study of older adults’ use of information and communications technology. Journal of Aging Studies, 18, 4, 369–84.
Selwyn, N., Gorard, S., Furlong, J. and Madden, L. 2003. Older adults’ use of information and communications technology in everyday life. Ageing & Society, 23, 5, 561–82.
Slegers, K., van Boxtel, M. P. J. and Jolles, J. 2007. The effects of computer training and internet usage on the use of everyday technology by older adults: a randomized controlled study. Educational Gerontology, 33, 2, 91110.
Slegers, K., van Boxtel, M. P. J. and Jolles, J. 2008. Effects of computer training and Internet usage on the well-being and quality of life of older adults: a randomized, controlled study. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 63B, 3, 176–84.
Slegers, K., van Boxtel, M. P. J. and Jolles, J. 2009. The effects of computer training and Internet usage on cognitive abilities of older adults: a randomised controlled study. Ageing, Clinical and Experimental Research, 21, 1, 4354.
United Nations 2008. The Global Information Society: A Statistical View. United Nations, New York.
West, B., Welch, K. B. and Galecki, A. T. 2006. Linear Mixed Models: A Practical Guide Using Statistical Software. Chapman and Hall/CRC, Boca Raton, Florida.
White, H., McConnell, E., Clipp, E., Branch, L. G., Sloane, R., Pieper, C. F. and Box, T. L. 2002. A randomized controlled trial of the psychosocial impact of providing Internet training and access to older adults. Aging and Mental Health, 6, 3, 213–21.
Woodward, A., Freddolino, P., Blaschke-Thompson, C., Wishart, D., Bakk, L., Kobayashi, R. and Tupper, C. 2010. Technology and Aging Project: training outcomes and efficacy from a randomized field trial. Ageing International, 36, 1, 4665.
Xie, B. 2007. Information technology education for older adults as a continuing peer-learning process: a Chinese case study. Educational Gerontology, 33, 5, 429–50.
Xie, B. and Bugg, J. M. 2009. Public library computer training for older adults to access high-quality Internet health information. Library and Information Science Research, 31, 155–62.
Yesavage, J. A., Brink, T. L., Rose, T. L., Lum, O., Huang, V., Adey, M. and Leirer, V. O. 1982. Development and validation of a geriatric depression screening scale: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 17, 1, 3749.
Zimet, G. D., Dahlem, N. W., Zimet, S. G. and Farley, G. K. 1988. The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52, 1, 3041.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed