Adding life to years
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Computer Training Curriculum for Older Adults

Status: Ongoing

Ottawa Canada
Print this page City population: 100000017% over 60Practice started in 2013


As part of the Older Adult Plan consultation sessions, older adults identified a need to have increased access to computer and Internet instruction. To meet this identified need, the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) developed a computer literacy curriculum for older adults. Building on computer training already provided at the Library, a course was developed that can be shared with community members and used outside of the Library. The program was developed in both English and French and can be accessed on the Infonet section of the OPL website. The documents also were reviewed to ensure accessibility requirements in keeping with the OPL and the City commitment to inclusive and barrier-free access to information.The curriculum starts with basics such as “Using a Mouse” and moves through several modules, finishing with instruction on searching the Internet and using Web Based Mail. A “train the trainer” approach was developed, with library staff training tech-savvy community volunteers on how to present the program to older adults. Community centres were identified as neighbourhood hubs where older adults could receive instruction from volunteers engaged by the City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department (PRCS). This methodology would also work in other locations such as seniors’ residences or in community housing developments. By the end of 2014, 1,111 older adults had participated in the OPL Computer and Internet Curriculum. This initiative represents an age-friendly practice that not only improves residents’ access to city information, but also has the power to improve social inclusion and social participation.


Key facts

Main target group: Older people in general

Desired outcome for older people:
Learn, grow and make decisions

Other issues the Age-friendly practice aims to address:

Other Issues: Communication and Information

Contact details

Name: Thornley, Elizabeth

Email address:

Preferred language(s): English

Age-friendly practice in detail (click to expand):

Engaging the wider community

Project lead: Local authorities

Older people’s involvement: Older people were not directly involved

Details on older people’s involvement: As part of the Older Adult Plan consultation sessions, older adults identified a need to have increased access to computer and Internet instruction.

Moving forward

Has the impact of this age-friendly practice been analysed: No

Participants who participated in Library branches shared the following positive feedback: I’ve followed this course 3 times and enjoyed the first to the last. I‘m a slow learner – (85 yrs of age). I’ll do it until I get it right. Rudyard Kipling said in his poem. Don’t Quit!The pace was excellent, that is, attuned to the learning pace of each individual student. The instructor was patient and respectful in answering any possible questions.Instructor is very relaxed and makes me feel more intelligent which I do not feel usually when I am trying working on computer. Thank you.