For senior citizens, learning computers and basic internet skills is not only for accessing information. It is the tool now for keeping in touch with family members. Many senior citizens fear the computer, but basic computer skills are very easy to learn, more so today when everything is designed to be user-friendly and visually accessible. Here are some details on how you can teach computer basics to senior citizens.
Create an Environment for Learning.
For many older adults, computers and the Internet are exciting but too complex for them. Senior citizens students may be eager to learn what these technologies can offer, but unsure of their ability to master them. Research has shown that appropriate training can modify these attitudes and those senior citizens are fully capable of learning to use computers and the Internet. To create an environment that makes learning these technologies as easy as possible for senior citizens.
Provide information clearly.
Many studies have shown that mental operations slow down as we age and that senior citizens are slower at processing information. Senior citizens may take longer to fully grasp material that is presented to them, and it may be harder for them to draw meaning from ideas that are not expressed in a concrete manner. Make sure that they understand you by speaking slowly and clearly. You should also pause when delivering a segment of information to make sure that they are following you. Also, you have to avoid saying technological terms unless you have thoroughly discussed these terms to them.
Encourage them to ask questions.
Stop frequently to ask students if they have questions or if there is anything they don’t understand about the basics of the computer. Allow sufficient time, at least 8 to 10 second for them to formulate their question before moving on. Assure them that there are no wrong questions and you are always to willing to answers them.
Help the Senior Citizens to Stay Focused.
Clearly set their expectations and let them know the objectives for each part of the computer lessons so that they would know what they are supposed to learning at any given time. Make clear verbal transitions between parts of the lesson to let students know that one section has been completed and another one started.
Be mindful that you should always stay on task.
Make sure students know what the current task is. You may wish to write the task on the blackboard or flip chart. Check in frequently with the senior citizens to make sure they are at the right place in the lesson. Circulate and check their computer screens to make sure they are following you.
Pass out each handout when needed. If handouts are passed out early, senior citizens may read ahead, pick up the wrong handout for an activity, or rustle papers and distract others. Be mindful of fatigue or dropping energy levels. If senior citizens get tired, this can cause them to lose focus and make it harder to take in new information. Allow them to have short breaks or make them stretch for a couple of minutes for them to relax.