Older Adults Collaborative Learning Study

afsane_studyThis research project investigates how older adults learn and explore feature-rich software applications while they are collaborating with a learning partner whom they already know. This is an exploratory study to observe older adults’ exploration style and interaction with a learning partner to understand the possible challenges older adults might face during the learning process and how collaboration learning impacts the process. Our goal is to be able to present design guidelines and suggestions to technologists working on feature-rich software, so that they can better support software exploration and learning in ways that align with older adults’ learning and software exploration behaviours.

Recruitment Script

Investigators: Afsane Baghestani (MSc student, baghesta@myumanitoba.ca), Dr. Celine Latulipe (celine.latulipe@umanitoba.ca) and Dr. Andrea Bunt (andrea.bunt@umanitoba.ca)

We are recruiting dyads who must know each other prior to the study. The two participants will explore and learn a new software application together. If you are an older adult (65+) you can participate with someone you know who is older than 15 and if you are 15-64 years old, you can participate with an older adult (65+) whom you know. If you are comfortable using the internet, email, and video conferencing tools (e.g., zoom), that knowledge is enough for our study. Participants must have an email address for correspondence and scheduling and must have access to a computer with a web camera, microphone, and access to the Internet to participate in the study. We will use the Gather.Town mapmaker as the feature-rich software that participants will learn to explore. Gather.Town is a web-conferencing software (like Zoom) but that provides a virtual world that can be customized and designed by users. Therefore, both participants must have no/little experience with Gather.Town. Each participant will need to participate in the study from their own computer.

This study consists of two online sessions which will take at most 60 and 120 minutes respectively. In the first session, you will be asked to answer a pre-study questionnaire. Then we will introduce Gather.Town and you will have a chance to explore it with your learning partner. In the second session, the researcher will ask you and your learning partner to design separate rooms for a friendly gathering using Gather.Town mapmaker. While performing the tasks, we encourage you to talk to your learning partner, to ask questions and share tips. At the end, each participant will be asked to fill out the post-study questionnaire and participate in an interview with the researcher separately.

In appreciation for your time and participation in this study, you and your learning partner will each be compensated $15 CAD and $30 CAD for attending the first and second online session respectively. Participants will contribute to research about older adults learning new software collaboratively which could lead to improvements in feature-rich software design that aligns with older adults’ learning styles.

This research has been approved by the University of Manitoba Research Ethics Board, Fort Garry Campus. If you have any concerns or complaints about this project, you may contact any of the above-named persons or the Human Ethics Coordinator at 204-474-7122 or humanethics@umanitoba.ca.

If you are interested or need more information, please contact:

Afsane Baghestani (baghesta@myumanitoba.ca)

Consent Form

Both participants must consent for the study to happen. We will contact you after both participants have completed this consent form.

Final Report

Once the study closes and analysis is complete, a summary report of the results of this research will be posted here.