Later life ICT learners ageing well

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Helen Russell

Abstract

This article is based on a qualitative study of later life computer learners and their learning experiences in Sydney, Australia. Participants who undertook lessons from peer tutors in non-formal learning environments were aged between 63 and 86. Sixteen later life learners were interviewed individually by using hermeneutic phenomenological methodology. The use of semi-structured interviews provided opportunities for participants to elaborate and reflect on their learning and lived experiences. The interviews took place over a period of seven years, from 2003 to 2010. The main aim of the study was to understand and interpret the lived experiences of information and communication technology (ICT) learning in later life. Interpretations from the study suggested that learning and using a computer contributed to a sense of well-being, furthered an understanding of the lifeworld and provided participants with a heightened sense of belonging. In this article, well-being is discussed in the context of ageing and learning in a modern developed country. The ontological and existential themes of being, becoming and belonging are explored and used as a framework to interpret the findings from the study.

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