Never Too Late to Learn

  recap 09:05 28 Jul 05
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I am not posting this for any information from anyone here to find the oldest learner, it's just as a discussion point.

I work as an ICT Centre Manager for UK Online, and I thought you may be interested in the following campaign?

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) is conducting a national search to find England's Oldest Learner as part of it's Sign Up Now Campaign in September.

Stories already include those of 84 year old Raymond Elgood from Leicester, and Walter Goddard, aged 95, from Surrey. Raymond achieved three Open College Network qualifications in ICT through attending Computer lessons at Age Concern.

The oldest learner I have registered at one of our centres is an 82 year old woman who is doing a University course in IT. She has got a merit for each of the four modules she has completed so far.

I personally started learning again when I was 42 and wished I had started much earlier.

When did you start learning again after years of non-education?

  Jackcoms 14:36 28 Jul 05

Aren't we all learning all of the time, whatever our age?

Isn't this whole business of 'life' an ongoing learning process?

Or am I being too philosophical for my own good?

  badgery 14:50 28 Jul 05

I think, therefore am I?

  Forum Editor 17:25 28 Jul 05

was 85 when he first asked me to teach him computing. We worked together for three years, until he was 87 and he went to live abroad. During that time we had some laughs, and some very tetchy moments - he found it extremely difficult to get to grips with the concept of the Internet. At times I went to see him with a heavy heart, knowing that we would go over the same ground we covered on the previous occasion, and the one before that.

I became fond of this man, he was a real tryer, and wouldn't be beaten. In the end he grasped email and MS Word well enough to do the things he needed to do. I was sad to learn that - at the ripe old age of 90 he had died at home in South Africa, where he had run one of the country's biggest meat packing businesses for many years.

  Diemmess 18:04 28 Jul 05

It is primarily the wish or even yearning to learn, that counts far more than age.

A child may learn frighteningly quickly which keys to press, while the Octogenerian may take much much longer, but with his/her experience goes an understanding which balances that out.

Haven't you noticed that anyone with enthusiasm for a subject, will persist with any tool which helps a better understanding or development of that interest. They become highly skilled with that helpful tool

Show the average mature person a computer for the first time and they will do almost anything to avoid any more to do with it......... But once they have some glimmer of how a computer helped solve a problem for a friend with a problem of their own, and you have an able and willing pupil.

  recap 10:12 29 Jul 05

There was a learner at one of our centres that was 70 when he started using a computer. He used to come in at 10 am every morning come rain or shine, never missed a day. He went on to gain 3 'A' level qualifications in computing.

Unfortunatley he died of cancer three days after submitting his final assessment for HTML at the local university for which he gained a distinction.

Diemmess wrote
"Show the average mature person a computer for the first time and they will do almost anything to avoid any more to do with it"

Another of our learners (80 year old) was petrified of using a mouse, until I asked if he had ever played cricket. After that he was well away.

Explanation: hold the mouse as you would a cricket ball, index finger to the left of the wheel(seam) and second finger to the right.

  DieSse 10:30 29 Jul 05

"The more we know, the more we realise how little we know"

I've always thought the most important thing to learn is not how to do a particular task - but how to find out how to do any task.

  Diemmess 13:34 29 Jul 05

Age affects what is made of learning/experience. The youngest soak up a new idea and “crash about” exploring this new envelope.

The Older person will think the thing through, finding all the negatives and possible snags.

The youngest may get it badly wrong (road traffic accidents) but sometimes discover or invent brilliant ideas which influence all human existence.

Past 30 the "old" almost never make new discoveries, but with their accumulated experience make loyal dedicated team members, and a few make excellent team leaders.

Dennis Jenkinson in his book 'The Racing Driver' talking about fear said the very young have no fear where they have no experience and the very old because they have forgotten!

  CurlyWhirly 22:06 29 Jul 05

I have left owning a PC till quite late in life as I had never even been near a PC until I was 35 (I am now 38).


I have learnt quite a bit now though mainly from forums like this one but of course I have a lot to learn yet!

  wee eddie 15:04 30 Jul 05

It's kids like you that get us into trouble!

  Bingalau 17:49 30 Jul 05

I didn't get on a computer until I was over 70, now, as my wife says she always knows where I am. Either on that B..... Computer or up on the golf course. She's jealous really because I am always doing something. My two year old grand daughter always comes and has a play with the computer. She sits on my knee to play with the keyboard when she visits. I have noticed that she is picking things up too, she has no problem with the mouse either. So there's a bit of a contrast in learning ages there. We both love it.

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