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On golden cyberpond: Training America's elderly to use electronic mail

, University of Southern California, United States

University of Southern California . Awarded


As a subsidiary to a larger study, this research sought to determine the facilitators and inhibitors to the successful training of elderly individuals with no prior computing experience to use electronic mail. Over a period of five months, 61 participants aged 68-95 received personal training in the actual exchange of electronic mail with assigned pen pals. The goal of the training, namely to enable each of the participants to achieve sufficient competence to use electronic mail without assistance, was not realized. Two of the 61 participants achieved such competence; the remaining 59 participants did not. Qualitative data analysis indicated that high motivation, frequent practice, and reliance on printed instructions facilitated learning, while, short-term memory limitations, physical constraints, and lack of repetition inhibited learning on the part of the participants. Additionally, methodological procedures and computer products and services were identified as contributing to the failure of certain participants to learn to process electronic mail independently. Specific procedural and technological influences were discussed. Limitations, implications, and proposed avenues for future research were considered.


Osborne, K.K. On golden cyberpond: Training America's elderly to use electronic mail. Ph.D. thesis, University of Southern California. Retrieved February 19, 2019 from .

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

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