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TEENAGED TUTORS FACILITATING THE ACQUISITION OF E-SKILLS BY OLDER LEARNERS

The dissertation is an attempt to develop the instructional design that can be used by teenaged persons and hopefully by other non-professional tutors, given the need for continuous learning of lower Internet skills among older people in the community context. The dissertation contributes critical perspectives in the field of educational gerontology with more detailed knowledge on better tutoring of e-skills. Vygotsky´s development-based learning theory and the face-to-face methods based on it form the epistemological basis of the dissertation. Ontologically, the work relies on the phenomenon of intergenerational learning of e-skills that is mainly based on the ability of naturalistic tutoring (Graesser et al., 1995). Also, the models of the formation, use, and sharing of tacit knowledge are used as the ontological basis of the research.

The main data source of the dissertation is video data. The mixed method was implemented on data gathered during three data collection rounds between 2010–2019. The tutoring-learning of 18 pairs consisting of an older learner and a teenaged tutor was analysed using the content analysis method, and the work of 6 pairs consisting of a teenager tutor and the author of the dissertation in a position of the learner was analysed using the content analysis method in the framework of formative research methodology as a way to develop a design theory (Reigeluth & Frick, 1999).

The results of the study indicate the insufficient knowledge and skills of teenaged unskilled tutors for this role. The unskilled teenaged tutors’ tacit knowledge of the website taught as well as the independent preparation for the tutoring session can even decrease the interactivity of tutoring.

Links between scaffolding and the principles of older people’s learning are presented that, in turn, allow to recommend that the preparation of tutors should not necessarily focus on the age-specific features of the learner. Instead, tutoring techniques and tools for preparing and conducting the tutoring session in which the teenaged tutor facilitates older learner’s acquisition of lower Internet skills (Y-O session) should be introduced to unskilled tutors. For that, the content model and the instructional design are described based on the task centred instructional strategy (Merrill, 2007), the first principles of instruction (Merril, 2002), and the results of the current research.

The instructional design proposed in the dissertation aspires to offer an alternative to the relatively low-interactive collaborative learning, over-demonstration or pointand-click dictation that tend to characterise the tutoring of older people’s lower Internet skills by unskilled teenaged tutors.

The survey highlights that user skills can not be automatically interpreted as the ability to share those skills, and a short preparation is important for each tutoring episode, including thinking through the content knowledge (what to present) and the pedagogical content knowledge (how to formulate it). As a result, tutoring in IGL in which teenaged tutors facilitate older learners’ acquisition of lower Internet skills should not be naturalistic anymore, and the new term – volunteer tutors – has been proposed.

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Tiina Tambaum
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Studies and Reports
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