Teaching computer stuff to people over 40
• People in their forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond already know a lot of stuff. That's the first thing that you have to consider. Showing them something that is totally new is confusing and embarrassing to them. They are used to doing a lot of things right, and with ease. It's been a long time for many of them since they were awkward and uncomfortable. People don't want to look stupid or weak. They won't say, *doing this makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable*, they will say that they don't have time for it. What they need is time and space. Give it to them and you will preserve their dignity. Don't give up.
• People in their forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond have difficulties seeing small type. It's a fact of life that we all will have to accept after a certain number of decades, like grey hair. Words and images on a computer screen, a cell phone, or a tablet are difficult for older people to see up close. Difficult, but not impossible. Don't make a big deal about reading glasses, but don't try to show something to someone who is not using their reading glasses, the best you will get is a nod and a smile. You wouldn't teach someone to drive who couldn't see the road very well, so don't show older people a blurry little screen! Give them a chance to focus.
• People in their forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond are still human. Like you, if they see a value in something, they will pursue it. If not, they won't. Just because something is a the latest cool technology doesn't mean that everyone sees a value in it. Listen to the reasons that someone expresses an interest in something. If it's for them, you will see a motivated learner. If they are doing it for someone else, you will see a kid waiting for recess!
Posted by Brad Hall