Young man helping older man with computer

It is quite common for those without strong digital skills to be intimidated, discouraged and even scared to use technology. For these people, technology can be associated with bad experiences and failed learning attempts, resulting in lost confidence. Here are some handy hints and tips to restore confidence and enable greater digital inclusion. 

Show, don't tell
It can be frustrating for learners when they feel as though the are being lectured on how to use technology, without being shown how to complete the tasks on their own device. This can make the information seem more complicated to the learner and may be irrelevant to their current skills and knowledge.

Make sure the learner is an active part of their technology experience. If memory is a hinderance to skill retention, encourage the learner to write down notes or instructions that can be followed when they have another go at practising the skill.

Explain and show how technology can improve the life of the learner.
Sometimes learners feel as though there is no point learning how to use technology because they don't believe that it will improve their lives. Others recognise that technology could improve their lives, but the perceived pay off of learning digital skills is not worth the effort of constant practice and retention. 


Explain to learners that they can tailor their learning depending on their needs, interests and requirements. If they have grandchildren and mention them often, suggest that learning to use the camera and photos app can help them to see and share photos and videos of them. If the learner enjoys sudoko or card games, suggest that they learn to download apps so that they can play while they are out and about. 

Reassurance
Many people who lack digital skills have tried to learn in the past, often from digitally savvy family and friends. It is not uncommon for learners to feel like they are asking silly questions or being a burden to the person teaching them, meaning they may not try to follow up on lessons or are afraid to ask for more of their teacher's time. 

Reassurance is a major factor in increasing confidence and therefore increasing digital skills. Ensure the person knows that you are happy to help them, and they are not a burden. Also reiterate that there is no such thing as a silly question, and answer any questions with patience and care.


Remember these three tips when you are helping someone to develop their digital skills to ensure they become confident and competent digital citizens!