The role of a social context for ICT learning and support in reducing digital inequalities for older ICT users

Damodaran, L. and Sandhu, J., 2016. The role of a social context for ICT learning and support in reducing digital inequalities for older ICT users. International Journal of Learning Technology. ISSN 1477-8386 (Forthcoming)

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This paper examines the key role of formal and informal social support in reducing digital inequalities by enabling the digital participation of older people. It is based primarily on research conducted on the (anonymised) project in the UK over a four year period working with over 1000 older people using mixed research methods within a participative framework. It is further informed by other studies. The rich, multi-faceted evidence reveals on the one hand the extensive learning and support needs and requirements of older users of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and, on the other, the dearth of reliable and on-going support provision. ICT learning and support in the UK relies primarily on the goodwill of friends and family and on the availability of staff and volunteers in community venues, such as public libraries. Arrangements are often ad hoc and variable in quality and reliability. In a facilitated workshop, the learning and ICT support needs of older people and their preferred forms of provision were documented and deliberated. This generated a clear set of user requirements. To meet these requirements a proposition for community-based ICT support provision has been developed and refined. The paper concludes with consideration of this proposition which offers a powerful way to reduce the widespread digital inequalities among older people.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Learning Technology
Creators: Damodaran, L. and Sandhu, J.
Publisher: Inderscience
Date: 2016
ISSN: 1477-8386
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 01 Apr 2016 15:01
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2016 15:01

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