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I have noticed in computer/software classes, the older students have a more difficult time grasping the material. This by no means indicates they are not capable of learning, it just shows that younger people have been brought up using these new technologies that were not available to the older learners.

Hello Don

I agree, one way that I keep these students moving forward is to give them a simple software task to learn and then present their findings back to the class. Essentially giving the class a short demo. This builds their confidence.

I agree with your statement about mature learners' experience (or lack there of) and computer classes. Just today, I was doing some research about adult learning theories and one, in particular, reminded me of this post. As adults mature, experiences such as life-experiences, relate to the social role of employee and the acquisition of new information becomes a reality.

One good way to make the computer and its software relatable to the older student is to make analogies to technologies that they're more comfortable with. Explain that using the brush tool in Photoshop, for example, is very much like using a brush while painting; that the burn and dodge tools really function exactly the same way as their anologs do in a traditional, film-based photo darkroom; or that using the bezier-path-based pen tool is essentially just like sketching out complex curves in calculus class, and that the control handles are really just derivatives that you can use to alter the equation of the curve itself.

I have students of all ages in my computer class and was surprised at the number of younger students who have never use a computer. They sometimes have a harder time picking how to use them the older folks. I have found the older folks seem more willing to learn for they better understand how leaning this will help them in the future.

Hi Brian,
Your students are fortunate to be able to share with each other. This way the different generations can develop respect for the life experiences and knowledge each group brings to the classroom.

Hi Donald,
It is not only about new technologies, I believe how you grew up and the generation we are living in.
The needs of new technologies are increasing daily due to the demands and the changing way of living.
The big problem also for the older crowd is most of the time Knoledge or discovery.
Internet is a big part of it too.

I find the mature students find the simplest computer task to be overwhelming, so i assign a younger student with a mature student to help with the task at hand, i find the feedback to be rewarding and the mature students find it easier to relate to the student who helped. This method works both ways as they become friends in the process.

Hi Alphia,
Good strategy for enhancing the learning and interaction for your students. This way everyone is showing progress in their learning and growth skills.

it is just new information for them. they just need to get use to using it, just like the stuff they have learned over the years, dive in and do it.

Right you are. What are some ways you help your students to start using this new information?

Dr. Gary Meers

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