The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education

Jelfs, Anne and Richardson, John T. E. (2013). The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2) pp. 338–351.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01308.x

Abstract

In June 2010 a survey was carried out to explore access to digital technology, attitudes to digital technology and approaches to studying across the adult life span in students taking courses with the UK Open University. In total, 7,000 people were surveyed, of whom more than 4,000 responded. Nearly all these students had access to a computer and the internet, but younger students were more likely than older students to have access to other technologies, to spend longer using those technologies and to have more positive attitudes to digital technology. However, there was no evidence for any discontinuity around the age of 30, as would be predicted by the “Net Generation” and “Digital Natives” hypotheses. Older students were more likely than younger students to adopt deep and strategic approaches to studying and less likely to adopt a surface approach to studying. In addition, regardless of their ages, students who had more positive attitudes to technology were more likely to adopt deep and strategic approaches to studying and were less likely to adopt a surface approach to studying.

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