Eulàlia Hernández Encuentra. Department of Psychology & Education, UOC. PSiNET Research Group, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3, UOC). PhD in Psychology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Since 1992 she has been researcher and teacher in the Developmental Psychology field in Universitat Autònoma, Universitat Ramon Llull and UOC. Currently she coordinates the PSiNET research group (Psychology, Health and the Net), the Masters in Psychology, Health and Quality of life (about the use of Ict to promote the quality of life) and the Developmental Psychology area.
ICT adoption among older students at UOC.
From Lifespan Developmental Perspective (Baltes, 1987), ageing is a dynamic process between gains and lossess. The same way, ICT give several opportunities to older adults besides the constraints derived from age-related changes.
We have examined ICT use and lifestyles of older people, all already users of ICT, in a learning environment- the virtual campus of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. From this analysis, we extracted some guidelines about how and when introducing ICT to contribute to successful aging.
Older people need to know the function of the tool beforehand, have continued support, confidence and, in particular, the certainty that the technology will allow them to maintain their independence and autonomy. Older people’s adoption of IT needs to be treated more than merely a question of usability, as attitudes, experience of use and perceived benefits are also key aspects that must be taken into account.
We ground our ideas on a theory from the Lifespan Developmental Psychology, that is, the SOC (Selection, Optimization and Compensation) theory (Baltes & Baltes, 1990) about successful aging and well-being. We suggest that, if when we introduce ICT into the elderly we use the same mechanisms they use to age successfully, we can promote olders’ well-being by the ICT.