Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Daniel Baer

Abstract

Many older adults (aged 55 and older) need training to acquire computer knowledge and skills. Using computers and the Internet could provide access to vital resources for improving older adults' health and maintaining their connections with family and society. This study examined 2 psychological constructs--computer anxiety and computer self-efficacy--that have been shown to impact a person's successful use of computers and related technology. Guided by Bandura's self-efficacy theory, which emphasizes the importance of adult learners being motivated and taking charge of their learning, this study examined the impact of a computer knowledge and skills workshop on older adults' computer anxiety and computer self-efficacy. A concurrent, mixed-methods design was used to collect and analyze survey data and interview transcripts from a convenience sample of African American older adults (N = 11). Mobile technology (i.e., tablet PCs and portable hotspots) was used to access the Internet and e-mail. Data analyses included thematic coding of the interview notes and descriptive statistics to present the survey results. The themes that emerged from the interview data were learning opportunities, positive attitudes, and user-friendly tools and equipment for reducing computer anxiety and constructive attitude changes and learning environments for improving computer self-efficacy. The descriptive statistics indicated favorable changes for computer anxiety with scores averaging a decrease of -26.5% and computer self-efficacy with scores averaging an increase of 62.1%. This study illustrated the feasibility of a low-cost approach for establishing a mobile computer laboratory to help older persons become proficient in their use of computers, the Internet, and related technology.