Implementing an interdisciplinary intergenerational program using the Cyber Seniors® reverse mentoring model within higher education


Intergenerationalservice-learning, technology or digital divide, interdisciplinary, college students, older adults, attitudes toward aging


Intergenerational service-learning in higher education positively affects older adults and students, but little is known about the effectiveness of interdisciplinary, reverse mentoring programs that use technology as the medium of bringing generations together. This study describes an intergenerational service-learning program that utilizes reverse mentoring within higher education, the “Engaging Generations Program,” at a midsized public university in New England where students help older adults learn about technology, and students gain communication and teaching skills. In this article, we outline how the program was implemented, present quantitative data on participation outcomes for students and older adults and qualitative data from older adults, and discuss best practices. Analysis of pre/post surveys found that students’ attitudes toward aging improved (p < 0.01) and older adults interest in technology improved (p < 0.05) after program participation. Best practices identified included: multiple meetings with the same pair to deepen friendships, in-person training for student leaders, student responsibility for scheduling, tailoring sessions to each participant, student documentation of meetings, and active involvement by community partners.

Original Publication Citation

Leedahl, S. N., Brasher, M. S., Estus, E., *Breck, B. M., Dennis, C. B., & Clark, S. C. (2019). Implementing an interdisciplinary intergenerational program using the Cyber-Seniors ® reverse mentoring model within higher education. Gerontology & Geriatrics Education, 40(1), 71-89

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Gerontology & Geriatrics Education




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Social Work

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor