To Help and to Learn: An Exploratory Study of Peer Tutors Teaching Older Adults about Technology

Paul P. Freddolino*, Vincent W. P. Lee, Chi-Kwong Law, Cindy Ho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The cost of caring for an aging population is a growing concern in many societies. Although information and communication technologies (ICTs) like computers and the Internet are seen as new tools which offer some potential to help, unfortunately older adults are generally the age group with the lowest level of skill and utilization of these technologies. Although nongovernmental organizations have attempted to address this digital gap, limited staff resources are a concern. One approach for generating additional staff to provide more technology training to older adults is a “peer-tutor” model. This study examined the perspectives of 101 technology peer tutors for older adults in a nonprofit program in Hong Kong. Topics included preparation and training, perceived benefits and challenges, side effects on their lives, the perceived value of their work as tutors, and suggestions for personal and program improvement. The influence of demographic factors was examined. Results show which tutors felt prepared for their roles, perceived considerably more benefits than challenges, saw value in their tutor work, and overwhelming plan to continue as volunteer tutors in this program. There were few differences linked with demographic variables. Implications for practice and for future research are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-239
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Technology in Human Services
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

User-Defined Keywords

  • computer training
  • information and communication technologies (ICTs)
  • older adults
  • peer support
  • peer tutor
  • tutors

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