I have been teaching Technology courses for seniors for a very long time. I have heard their stories and I understand that the world of computers and smartphones can be daunting for anyone over the age of 40. I also know that our seniors are some of the most brilliant people out there. The problem is how they get the training. I’m going to show you a few of the problems seniors face while learning tech and how I get past them.
Seniors were not born with it.
This is very true. Seniors were not born with tech. In my Technology courses for seniors, I take that into consideration. There can be fear, frustration and embarrassment because they do not grasp the tech as fast as the younger folks. Because of this, we need to remove some of the fears of using a computer or smartphone first.
Not going to break it
There are a lot of people who think that if they click on the wrong button on a computer they are going to break it. Or that they are going to be charged a lot of money because they visited the wrong website. (I remember in the early days of using the internet I visited an online shopping page and was worried that I was going to get a bill… oh I remember the old days of using a 28k dial-up modem).
We also see a lot of funny stories and tv skits where anyone over the age of 35 touches a computer and it breaks. If you are a senior this is a fear that gets embedded.
Part of our training is to create a safe environment where other than throwing it out the window there is nothing you can do to “Break” , “Delete” or “Destroy” anything during the class. Also as an Apple Repair Expert. There is little that you can do to a mac that I can not fix. I even have special user profiles to prevent anything unwanted from happening.
I not only make sure that the “Computer training wheels” are on but I explain what happens when a mistake happens. I explain that computer companies make it hard to make lasting mistakes.
We celebrate our mistakes
While this seems odd for many people trying to learn something new, it is actually the best way to learn computers. Celebrating our mistakes helps remove the fear of using computers and opens the mind to new ways to learn.
I often tell my senior students “Children make two mistakes a minute using a computer but an adult makes one an hour and threatens to throw it out the window”
By allowing mistakes to happen we can learn from the process. Children are experts in the trial and error process of learning. Adults we forget how to do that. Because of this combined with the fear of breaking the computer we stop learning. …. unless we make a game out of it.
We teach in English .. not computer geek
We understand that you do not know all the terms used with computers. But you may know more than you know. I use a process of slowly introducing new phrases and words that you will use every day while using a computer. I will also show you how in many cases you understand every single word on the screen (Once you stop assuming you do not know)
Relatives are crappy teachers
Trust me on this one .. there is a special kind of teaching process when teaching seniors and I can tell you that your Tech Savvy relative does not have it. They talk too fast. Assume your level of understanding of tech and do it for you and expect you to remember.
They assume you already know
One of the many reasons why I like personal training is that I get to have a good idea of the tech level of the student. I get to understand what they know and how they want to learn it. While there are some adjustments in this process I never assume where someone is on their journey of learning computers.
I see this all the time where a child will try to explain to a grandparent how to use an iPad. The problem is that the child always assumes that they know how to turn it on. The next few seconds is a whirlwind of instructions (Fueled by excitement and sugar that only under 10-year-olds still have) that honestly even I would have a hard time following. IF you get lost when someone who is a child is trying to teach you? Do not feel bad .. you are not 10 years old.
Your relationship gets in the way
I love my kids. But I can not teach them computers. My wife will never take a personal training class from me. This is because the relationship gets in the way. We try to learn how to use software from a family member we can not detach all the other aspects of our lives from the class. My kids always feel like I am lecturing them and do that blank look of “I’m not listening anymore” and My wife who is tech-savvy is almost impossible for me to judge her tech level. And when I am wrong she feels like I am talking over her or patronising her.
While this sounds like a bad instructor or bad student is not the case. I never have a problem teaching adults. They never have a problem learning from others. Our strong relationship gets in the way.
They do it for you and expect you to remember
This is a big one! This has to be the most common complaint I hear from my students. The problem is that they do it so fast that nobody can remember. They do not explain why you are doing it. They honestly are not teaching they are just removing the problem until next time.
In my Technology courses for seniors, we take a look a the whole process. We explain why we are doing it. What we need to do. and I never touch the computer allowing the student to learn from their own experiences (and happy mistakes).
Taking notes = BAD
While I’m not going to stop you from taking notes in the class. the problem is that taking the note becomes its own beast. The focus on the notes takes away from the use of the computer. Think of it as learning how to drive a car! If you take notes while driving you can cause a big problem.
We can take notes after the class if needed but during the class. No notes. (If you are like me you will forget what the notes mean anyway)
We teach how to find your own answers
I can teach software that I have never seen before. I can do this because I understand how the software developers use icons, menus and help searches. You never stop learning how to use a computer. The software will change. Buttons will move. So I teach how to find answers.
Technology courses for seniors in Lithgow, Katoomba and Bathurst.
Sign up for one of our personal training classes. And let’s see if we can make computers less frustrating for you.
- iPad training
- iPhone training
- iMac and Macbook training
- How to stay safe online
- How to use Windows
- Digital painting
- How to find free software that works
- How to blog
- How to use Zoom, Skype and other chat programs
- How to avoid scams
In-home personal tech training. $110 per hour (Prices subject to change call for a quote)
In-store personal training $75 per hour (Prices subject to change)