Older workers technology implications for trainers and human performance technologist
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Older Workers & Technology Implications for Trainers and Human Performance Technologist. Session Outline. Definitions Demographics Workforce Influences Training Strategies Technology Anxiety Other Expectations?. Older Workers. Older Workers.

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Older workers technology implications for trainers and human performance technologist

Older Workers & TechnologyImplications for Trainers and Human Performance Technologist

Session outline
Session Outline

  • Definitions

  • Demographics

  • Workforce Influences

  • Training Strategies

  • Technology Anxiety

  • Other Expectations?

Older workers1
Older Workers

  • The term older worker evokes a mental image......

Older workers2
Older Workers

  • Gerontology uses these terms for adults:

    young adult (20-30)

    adult (30-40)

    middle Age (40-65)

    young-old (65-74)

    old-old (75-84)

    oldest-old (85+)

Older workers3
Older Workers

  • Typically however, industry describes an older worker as anyone over 50 years of ages.

  • During the next 30 years industry’s current definitions of “older worker” will certainly change.

Older workers4
Older Workers

  • We are not yet sure if 65 years of age will be “retirement age” in 2020.

  • We do know that workers will continue to work after “official” retirement commences.

Older workers5
Older Workers

  • As the supply of younger workers becomes depleted, this older, larger workforce will become the majority.





50 +

Population in Millions


Under 18























Median Age














  • Projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics identify the three groups that will contribute the majority of the new entrants into the workforce by the year 2000: 1) women 2) minorities and 3) older adults


  • In 1993,

    • one American in four was 50 or older… one in eight was over 65.

  • In, 2000,

    • Approx. 50% of the population over 45 years of age...

      more 36 million over 65.


  • By 2025,

    • Those who are 50 and older will make up nearly 30% of the population of the entire U.S. workforce.

    • These figures make the 35-to-44 year old worker the fastest growing segment of the American population (AARP, 1988).


  • By 2005 more than 15% of the workforce will be over 55 years old.


  • ...these figures are staggering considering the proportion of those under 18 should stay at the same 24% between 2000 and 2030 (Couper & Pratt, 1997).

Workforce influences
Workforce Influences

  • There are three factors affecting how America's workforce will age.

Workforce influences1
Workforce Influences

  • First, life expectancy rose from 43 years in 1900 to 72 years in 1990.

    • As life expectancy increases, so does the amount of time in which workers are healthy and available for work.

Workforce influences2
Workforce Influences

  • Second, the baby boomers, those 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, are slowly progressing through the life cycle and are clogging the workplace.

Workforce influences3
Workforce Influences

  • In 1990, the oldest baby boomers were approaching 50. By 2010, they will be approaching 65.

Workforce influences4
Workforce Influences

  • Third, the declining U.S. birthrate adds to a continuing shift from what was once a “youth-oriented” nation to a more “maturity-oriented” one.

Workforce influences5
Workforce Influences

  • One of the most notable change in demographics has been the decline in the proportion of workers under the age of 25.

Training strategies1
Training Strategies

  • The following are effective techniques:

Training strategies2
Training Strategies

  • Provide audio and visual learning methods designed to compensate for any hearing or sight loss older trainees might have.

Training strategies3
Training Strategies

  • Be sure that there is no distracting background noise.

  • Use good diction.

  • Speak clearly and at a lower range.

Training strategies4
Training Strategies

  • Use large, bold, dark print on flipcharts.

  • Reduce glare.

  • Keep a consistently high level of light on the screen when showing films, videos, or slides

Training strategies5
Training Strategies

  • Allow for the fact that different trainees need different amounts of time in which to complete the stages of training.

Training strategies6
Training Strategies

  • Let the group help determine time requirements for assignments.

Training strategies7
Training Strategies

  • These techniques are good to consider for older worker due to diminishing physical capabilities.

Older workers technology implications for trainers and human performance technologist

  • You will recognize these a good strategies in any training

Technology anxiety1
Technology Anxiety

  • Anxiety, Fear of Change

  • Lack of Knowledge Regarding Applications

  • Lack of Experience

  • Perceived Loss of Control

Technology anxiety2
Technology Anxiety

  • Anxiety about Changing Roles

  • Equipment Phobias

  • Fear of Increasing Time Constraints

  • Fear of Appearing Technically Incompetent

Technology anxiety3
Technology Anxiety

  • Lack of Training Time

  • Difficulty Using Interface Features and Control

  • Physical Changes Due to the Normal Aging Process (eyesight, muscle coordination, memory.

Technology anxiety4
Technology Anxiety

  • Help workers adopt a more positive attitude toward technology & its classroom uses.

  • Present Practical & Useful Examples of Technology Applications as well as its integration into the curriculum

Technology anxiety5
Technology Anxiety

  • Help Older workers Gain Positive Experiences Utilizing Various forms of Technology

  • Facilitate Classroom Role Reversal by stressing the importance of student contributions and leadership

Technology anxiety6
Technology Anxiety

  • Provide Many Opportunities for older workers to Work with Equipment and Software

  • Provide Sufficient Training Time

    • some older workers may need more time to become comfortable with software and hardware products

Technology anxiety7
Technology Anxiety

  • Select software with Interfaces that are Designed to meet the needs of Senior Adult workers. The software should:

    • have larger mouse targets

    • have changeable fonts & sizes

    • avoid relying heavily on memory (STM)

    • avoid complicated muscle movements for navigation and use

Technology anxiety8
Technology Anxiety

  • Encourage Peer Coaching & Peer Teaching with Technology Applications

  • Encourage Shared Projects, Suggestions, and Shared Uses of Computerized Tools

Older workers technology implications for trainers and human performance technologist

Some references
Some References

  • Wircenski, M., Walker, M., Allen, J., & West, L. (1999). Age: A diversity issue in grades K-12 and in higher education. Educational Gerontology 25(6), 491-500.

  • Allen, J., Wircenski, M. (1999). AgeShare: Training Older Learners: Issues for the New Millennium. National Academy for Teaching and Learning about Aging [on-line].www.unt.edu/natla/age_share_training_older_learners.htm.

  • Allen, J., & Hart, M. (1998). Training older workers: Implications for HRD/HPT professionals. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 11(4), 91-102.

  • Ennis-Cole, D, Allen, J., (1998). The Challenges of training and retraining mature learners. The Journal for Vocational Special Need Education, 20(3), 35-42.

  • Allen, J., Wircenski, M., & West, L. (Eds.). (1998) Aging: Our one common experience in special needs. Journal of Vocational Special Needs Education [Special issue], 20(3).

Further discussion
Further Discussion

  • Should Older Workers and Younger Workers be Treated Differently?

  • How do we help everyone compensate for special needs?

  • Others?

Older workers technology implications for trainers and human performance technologist

University of North Texas

Department of Technology

and Cognition

P.O. Box 311337

Denton, Texas 76203-1337

Email: Jallen@unt.edu

Phone: (940)565-4918

Jeff Allen

To Download Presentation: www.coe.unt.edu/Allen/download.htm