Research related to older adults during the COVID-19 crisis: Supporting older adults’ learning from distance

Katerina Katka Cerna, Claudia Müller

University of Siegen, Information Systems/ IT for the ageing society


Our society is increasingly dependent on digitalization. As a consequence, older adults need to engage in learning when using different digital devices, such as smartphones or laptops. The existing social networks do not have enough resources to accommodate the needs ofolder adults, and a range of solutions is hence emerging, such as peer-to-peer support, computer clubs or specialized courses. All these activities build on the possibility of physical contact between the older adults among each other or with other actors. However, in the current situation, physical contact has become demanding regarding protecting safety of the older adults. Hence, we focus on the question: How do we support and do research focused on older adults’ learning related to digital tools from a physical distance? Our findings from an interdisciplinary and transnational project point to the need to support and address the changing relationships in the learning networks’ of older adults as well as the new demands of the crisis situation all the network members have to face.

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