A Longitudinal Study in Investigating the Roles of Internet Self-efficacy and its Antecedents towards Learning ICTs

Dr. Jolie Lam
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The Hong Kong government, corporate sponsors and non-government organizations (NGOs) have been subsidizing activities and making efforts to promote IT awareness and accessibility in the elderly population by providing training courses and establishing computer facilities in various Hong Kong locations. However, researchers raise some challenging questions: (1) Do the elderly intend to continue the usage of PCs and Internet services after the trainings? (2) How can we know whether the elderly can master the necessary IT skills in using the PCs and can access the Internet or not? And (3) Has learning and adopting IT made a difference in their lives?

This study was carried out in collaboration with the Cyber Senior Network Development Association, Ltd., the Internet Professional Association and Senior IT Advocates. It is hoped that with certain levels of coaching and encouragement, as well as with the availability of hardware/software supports, the self-confidence of the elderly, usage intention and cognitive knowledge may increase.

In this study, researchers found that elderly can perform just as well as general workforce in using the computer and the Internet, given the appropriate training method and structure, verbal encouragement as well as technical supports combined. Besides, elderly gained senses of achievement since they had acquired new knowledge and were able to share their knowledge and experience with others. In turns, elderly expected to learn more advanced computer courses in order to perform other types of online tasks. Their interests in continuously using the computer and the Internet were high.

Last but not least, researchers brought new insights and knowledge about this unique community (elderly) to stakeholders in all societies — governments (policy making), NGOs (training classes), and business corporations (provide products/services).

Keywords: Digital Divide, Elderly, Computer Self-efficacy, User Competence, Computer Usage
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Jolie Lam

Research Associate, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Ref: T05P0181