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Evolving Technology - Learning to Adapt at Any Age

With technology changing at the speed of light these days, how does one keep up? People over 50 didn’t even grow up with personal computers, never mind a phone that fits in your back pocket. Regardless of your age, there are some key things you can do to make the learning curve shorter.

Humans by nature are resistant to change. Adaptation to technology is a complex process involving attitude, personality, social influence and trust among other characteristics.

1The easier you adapt to change, the easier it is to learn new skills such as languages and technology.  

The first question is to ask yourself what is your why? Why do you want to learn how to use this phone model, computer software or other gadget? Is it to connect with your grandchildren? Monitor your heart rate? Have groceries delivered to your doorstep? Or easily keep track of your budget? Once you know your why, get a clear understanding of the technology’s purpose and how it will benefit you.  Next forget all biases you may have against learning, whether it be about your age or the tech itself.

While mindset makes a difference in the ability to learn, so does patience. Be patient with yourself.

Know that learning one type of technology makes it easier to learn other types. The brain builds on what you have already learned.

The best way to learn is by diving in and just going for it. So, play around with the app, computer, platform or whatever it may be. Practice, practice, practice.

If exploring the product on your own isn’t working, there are endless YouTube videos on how to use different types of apps, software, phones and the like. There are also numerous books on the subject as well as online courses, both for a fee and for free. If you prefer a teacher/student format, local continuing education programs and libraries also offer a variety of programs to help with implementing new technologies. Some of them offer classes geared toward older adults.

Lastly, stay up to date with the technology in your life. Most of all, don’t be afraid to just start using the gadget you want. While it’s true there’s a certain plasticity to a child’s brain that humans lose as we age, humans are always learning and adapting.2 Moreover, the old cliché is true: The brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. The more you learn, the better you become at learning -- no matter your age. So, log on and enjoy learning about that new tech app, program or gadget.

1. https://conga.com/resources/blog/5-tips-help-you-increase-user-adoption-new-technology

2. https://whatfix.com/blog/technology-adoption-curve/

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