The older generation is growing at a rate surpassed only by the speed at which mobile technology is advancing. Technology has become so ubiquitous in daily life, that most older people have done their best to adopt it. The purpose of this study was to explore the older adult (>50 yrs.) learner's everyday approach to and regard for mobile technology. Paper surveys were distributed by hand to four geographically diverse audiences. Each audience was composed of a minimum of 20 adult learners of each gender across three age groups, accounting for 160 individual older adults in all. Returned survey data (N = 107) were examined using either an ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis H test for statistical significance, and appropriate post hoc analyses—Tukey's or pairwise comparisons—were applied to determine which age differed significantly. A targeted thematic analysis of open-ended survey answers uncovered supporting or refuting empirical information to elaborate on the quantitative findings. Results reveal that mobile device ownership declined with age. However, usage tasks were found to significantly differ across age groups. The most revealing result is one of non-significance: no learning strategies were found to be significant for any age. Qualitative elements illuminated the desire for ideal, personalized learning situations across all age groups. Implications are discussed in regard to designing ideal learning environments for older adults in learning newer technology.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





adult learner, older learner, technology, senior, adoption, devices and technologies