Ireland and the lifelong learning curve : The intergenerational contribution to digital literacy for life

Flynn, Sandra and Passey, Don (2023) Ireland and the lifelong learning curve : The intergenerational contribution to digital literacy for life. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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In 2021, data on Internet usage for those aged 75 years and older in Ireland indicated that almost half of this cohort (46%) had never accessed the Internet (Central Statistics Office, 2021b). This study examines the role of intergenerational and peer relationships in the digital lives of older adults in Ireland, first, to explore perspectives on lifelong learning, and second, to understand the perceived impacts of digital engagement on personal quality of life in later years. A case study was employed as the overarching methodological approach. Data from participants were collected using a mixed methods approach through an online survey, and interviews with participants, representing two cases as units of analysis - onliners and offliners. These data were collected and analysed using a constructivist grounded theory approach. My findings indicate that intergenerational relationships support the development of digital skills of older adults in this study. The generations, however, are largely adjacent (sons and daughters) rather than non-adjacent (grandchildren) and these learning exchanges are informal. While the study did not set out to examine learning between members of the same generation, it found that questions surrounding digital technologies were best addressed on an individual level, often from a same generation peer, whether household member, family or other relative, friend or member of one’s social environment. There was evidence of indirect reciprocity from these learning exchanges to a participant’s peers. Lifelong learning is important to perceived positive quality of life amongst many older adults. Research into peer learning in informal social and community environments for older adults has been scarcely addressed up to now. This thesis highlights that it is here that much later-life learning relating to digital skills takes place. Building on Rogoff’s model (Rogoff, 1994), a community-of-peer learners that would involve informal intentional and incidental learning, from one another and together, about digital skills is proposed.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? sdg 4 - quality educationsdg 3 - good health and well-being ??
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Deposited On:
21 Jul 2023 13:00
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 06:04