Becoming Computer Literate: Experiences of Laterlife Computer Learners
This paper is based on research that investigated and interpreted the lived experience of laterlife computer learners in non-formal learning environments. The research focused on the interpretation and understanding of the learning experience from the perspective of participants. Hence it had an ontological thread that was grounded in the lifeworld of participants. It was a qualitative study based in Sydney, Australia. A hermeneutic phenomenological methodology was used because of its emphasis on understanding the lived experience of humans. Interviews were audio-taped and analysed using an interpretative case study approach. Older adults of the 21st century have not grown up with information and communication technology but they have experienced many technological changes. Some of the changes have fundamentally altered communication, entertainment and the kinds of knowledge and skills that are sought and valued. These changes are difficult to ignore because of their pervasiveness and in order to actively participate in their lifeworlds older adults face an imperative to meet new challenges and to adapt. They have risen to the challenge and this is evident in the increasing participation rates in non-formal computer learning environments. Older adults have a wealth of life and work related experiences and yet may feel alien in the world of technology.
Keywords: Technology Jargon, Computer Literate, Laterlife Computer Learners
Dr. Helen Russell
Lecturer, School of Education, Charles Sturt University