Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Judith A. Ponticell, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Yi-Hsin Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Johanna Lasonen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tony Tan, Ph.D.


elder learning, digital engagement, education, training


More older adults are moving toward options for digital connection; keeping up with and learning technology is challenging. Older adults’ perceptions of the difficulty of learning to use technology may contribute to their hesitancy to adopt technology options (Barnard, Bradley, Hodgson, & Lloyd, 2013). The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to explore the experiences of older/senior men learning and using technology for enrichment, communication, and social connectedness; and (2) to identify learning experiences and/or supports that aided these older/senior men in building knowledge, confidence, and comfort in technology use.

This was an exploratory qualitative study utilizing in-depth interviews. The study focused on the experiences of older/senior men over the age of 70. Analysis of interview transcripts yielded five themes in technology use by participants: (1) technology used; (2) motivation; (3) communication; (4) social connectedness; and (5) enrichment. Further analysis of interview transcripts yielded six themes in learning technology: (1) confidence; (2) curiosity; (3) external support; (4) letting go; (5) problem solving; and (6) training/assistance.

The challenge in engaging older adults in technology use and learning is designing technology, programming, and applications that suit their wants and needs, and in developing training and learning supports to assist them in meeting their goals, in their way, and in their own time.