Over the past two decades, computer use among older adults has doubled– and today, 67 percent of seniors are using the internet, according to the Pew Research Center. However, despite the growing trend towards a more computer-savvy population, many older adults fall behind younger generations when it comes to technology adoption. Fortunately, a range of online computer classes for seniors are making it possible for computer newbies to understand computing basics – and mid-level to advanced users can get training on software programs, mobile apps, and the like. If you or a loved one needs help navigating all that computers have to offer in the digital age, discover if one of these easy-to-use programs are the right fit.
1. Skillful Senior
Skillful Senior is perfect for anyone getting behind a computer for the first time. Touting their product as “Quick, Easy, and Fun” – this simple computer skills program has easy-to-understand tutorials on the basics of using a mouse and keyboard. The best part of this program? Typing games that help make it fun to practice and improve your typing speed.
2. CTDLC Basic Online Skills
The Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium’s “Basic Online Skills” tutorial is a short, simple introduction to basic computing. In about an hour, new computer users can learn how to use a mouse, save files, access a CD-ROM, open and close software files, and copy and paste files or text. At the end of the training, there’s even a quiz to test those new computer skills.
3. The Senior’s Guide to Computers
The Senior’s Guide to Computers uses examples, pictures, and videos to explain in simple terms how computers work. Authored by a web developer with experience dating back to 1979, the step-by-step instructions go beyond just the basics – including information on web browsers, hardware, software, computer security, backing up data, and setting up a computer for individuals with vision, hearing, and other disabilities. It also includes a glossary of key terms written in plain English.
4. Goodwill Community Foundation, Inc. – GCFLearnFree.org
GCFLearnFree.org offers over 2,000 lessons on over 180 topics. A highly comprehensive online classroom, users can learn how to use Microsoft Office programs (e.g., Word, Excel, Outlook), email, social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram), image editing programs, and even begin a new career – just to name a few. The tutorials use of video, animations, graphics, diagrams, plain English, and step-by-step instructions make it an easy-to-understand program for senior learning.
Meganga is a video-based learning tool that offers basic computer training for seniors and beginners. Users can watch videos on tech-related topics such as understanding the parts of a computer, navigating the desktop, and learning how to troubleshoot common issues. Other video courses include how to edit photos, use social media, surf the web, set up an email account, and use cloud storage.
When the founder of TechBoomers discovered there were few websites aimed at helping older adults learn how to use the web interfaces of technology companies, he created his own. This comprehensive website is full of easy-to-follow tutorials that cover how to use hundreds of popular sites -including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Skype, Ebay, Amazon, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and more.
If online computer classes aren’t the right learning style for you or a loved one, look local! Seniors can also sign up for computer classes through local schools, colleges, community centers, and libraries.