Education using technology or through technology is gaining massive interest and it is commonly agreed that the use of various education delivery approaches is vital to enable all citizens to benefit from it. Likewise, many universities are opening their doors to the adult population to enable them to earn certificates without compromising work and family commitments. However, many universities use the online or blended approach and as such, by default, adults who are part of this student population have to also stand by the same approach. The Open University of Mauritius offers courses using the Open and Distance Learning approach. In the past, this blended method comprised of some face-to-face lectures, but with the Covid-19 pandemic, most courses are now online. Research shows that age is actually a more powerful predictor of technology use as compared to other digital divide demographics and that technological inability may cause older adults to underperform and underuse technology. As this university has a large population of quadragenarians and quinquagenarians, it is assumed that this population might have different experiences with technology in their process of learning. This study explores how these adults respond to the online mode of study. Using purposive and convenience sampling, selected students meeting the demographic profile are interviewed to determine their personal experience with online learning, the factors that affect their engagement, and what mechanisms support them to cope with this system.
Meera Gungea, Open University of Mauritius, Mauritius