Being online has been especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic. 78% agree COVID 19 has escalated the need to gain digital skills Source: Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2020 The Centre for Ageing Better has produced an infographic which highlights that whilst more and more older people are getting online that there are still 3.7 million over 55 who lack the digital skills to allow them to fully participate using the internet. https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-08/bridging-digital-divide-infographics.pdf

We have designed Challenge Age to bridge this digital divide. Challenge Age is personal development programme for Adults 50+. The learning programme starts off with the Gateway Module (Duration 20 hours) which is designed to help support digital connectedness using online learning, virtual meeting technology and social media. The team designing the programme felt that digital skills are critical for adults 50+ to unlock safe ways of learning and grow their confidence in online space. Research by the Centre for Ageing Better has identified multiple and complex barriers that individuals in later life face in getting online. These are:

  • Self-efficacy: Lack of belief that they have are capable to get online.
  • Awareness of benefits: Not understanding the benefits
  • Awareness of risks: Concerns about safety
  • Employment history: People with limited exposure to computers and the internet during their working lives are often far less confident with them.
  • Perception of cognitive ability: People’s perception of their own cognitive ability – often clouded by internalised ageism or stereotypes about age.  
  • Influence of family: Family members can play an enabling or disabling role.
  • Perceived value and relevance: Lack of exposure to the internet over the life course can affect how relevant or valuable people perceive online access to be.
  • Access and affordability of equipment

How has COVID-19 changed the landscape of digital inclusion? Centre for Ageing Better 2020 https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-08/landscape-covid-19-digital.pdf