Older Aussies are fast learners

Australians over 65 are the fastest-growing new adopters of non-formal online education, according to new research commissioned by NBN Co.

The Connecting Australia report also reveals older Australians are heading online in large numbers to watch tutorials, complete new courses and learn new languages.

The report uses research from independent economics and data analytics advisory firm AlphaBeta. It combined national census data with an Ipsos survey of 3500 individuals across 1700 postcodes in metropolitan, regional and remote areas, including those connected to the NBN network and those not connected.

According to the report, NBN connected users are twice as likely to be enrolled in an online course than those not connected to the NBN, and are also more likely to enrol in online courses in the future.

Key findings regarding online-learning include:

  • Almost four out of five over-65-year-old NBN-connected users are engaged in non-formal education, compared with just over one in two of those not connected to the NBN.
  • NBN-connected users aged 45 to 64 are 1.4 times more likely to use the internet for learning online compared to those in areas without access to the NBN.
  • 32 per cent of users connected to the NBN network spend at least one hour a day on the internet on non-formal learning, compared to only 20 per cent of internet users not connected to the NBN.
  • In metro areas, NBN-connected users are 1.5 times more likely to use the internet for non-formal learning than those not connected to the NBN.
  • Regional NBN-connected users are 1.8 times more likely to use the internet for non-formal learning compared with regional users not connected to the NBN. Regional NBN-connected users are also 1.4 times more likely to express interest in enrolling in online education in the future, compared to metro NBN-connected users.

Council on the Ageing (COTA) chief executive Ian Yates said the report’s findings were good news for keeping older Australians engaged in the digital space.

“Digital connectivity is an increasingly important part of life for older Australians and our aim is to ensure older people are included in all aspects of Australian life,” Mr Yates said.

“It has always been a concern that the digital world could be isolating for older Australians, but it is great to see evidence that many are utilising services … to make the most of new opportunities to learn online and upskill after their retirement years.”

Have you taken an online learning course? Which one did you take? Did you find it useful?

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Written by Ben

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