You are here:

Experiences of women over 70 years of age learning computer skills DISSERTATION

, Montana State University, United States

Montana State University . Awarded


Educators working with older adults need to understand how computer learning environments and selected teaching strategies are experienced by older women in order to design computer education programs that are most beneficial to them. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to explore, describe, and interpret the experiences of women, over 70 years of age, who participated in a six-week, non-credit computer course offered by the Education Department at Montana State University-Bozeman. A model was developed to guide computer course design and instructional practice for use with older women.

One group of 14 women participated in a series of six computer classes held on campus. Data was collected using five methods. Verification was established through nine means commonly used in the qualitative research paradigm.

Data analysis consisted of analyzing and coding supporting statements from focus group interviews, participant reflections, audiotaped class sessions, and instructor observations. Data in each category was compared to develop themes for each research question. The central phenomenon was synthesized, research questions were answered, and a model was developed.

The women were making connections socially, societally, and intellectually. They chose to take this computer course because it offered a unique opportunity to learn with women of similar age, learn relevant skills, and immersed them in a respectful learning environment that helped them succeed in spite of age-related difficulties. The instructor's role should be one of a guide and companion in learning who harmoniously fits the social classroom atmosphere.

Recommendations follow: allow learners to select course content, hold class in a location with easy access where one computer per participant is available, schedule a two-hour class once per week for six weeks, accept 6 to 10 women in each group. Teaching strategies include: “Demonstration-Do-Redo”, verbal “share-pair”, “shifting”, mnemonics and rhythmic expressions, repetition, restating, reminding, providing a rationale for each procedure, encouraging learners to ask for help and share knowledge, and tying new learning to prior knowledge.


Cook, J.W. Experiences of women over 70 years of age learning computer skills. Ph.D. thesis, Montana State University. Retrieved March 22, 2018 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or