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Bridging the Digital Divide for Older Adults via Observational Training: Effects of Model Identity from a Generational Perspective

The proliferation of technology offers potential solutions for enhancing the well-being of older adults. However, older adults often have low digital literacy and are disengaged from the digital world. With age-appropriate training, older adults are expected to acquire a wide range of technological skills and bridge the digital divide. Through the lens of social cognitive theory, this study aims to investigate the effectiveness of observational training through behavior modeling in enhancing technology acceptance in older adults. The moderating effects of model identity on training outcomes from a generational perspective are examined. An empirical training experiment was completed with 59 community-dwelling older adults. Training outcomes were measured using cognitive knowledge, affective variables, and meta-cognition. The results ascertain the effectiveness of observational training in improving their technological knowledge, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and sense of social connectedness when using technologies. From a generational perspective, the older adult behavior model is more effective than the young or child behavior models in increasing self-efficacy and willingness to use technology. The model identity further enhances the positive outcomes of training. The results of this study contribute to designing educational interventions to bridge the digital divide.

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Qi Ma
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