A1 Journal article (refereed)
Older Adults Learning Digital Skills Together : Peer Tutors’ Perspectives on Non-Formal Digital Support (2023)

Korpela, V., Pajula, L., & Hänninen, R. (2023). Older Adults Learning Digital Skills Together : Peer Tutors’ Perspectives on Non-Formal Digital Support. Media and Communication, 11(3), 53-62. https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v11i3.6742

The research was funded by Strategic Research Council at the Research Council of Finland.

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKorpela, Viivi; Pajula, Laura; Hänninen, Riitta

Journal or seriesMedia and Communication


Publication year2023

Publication date22/05/2023


Issue number3

Pages range53-62

PublisherCogitatio Press

Publication countryPortugal

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/87342


In later life, digital support is predominantly received outside of formal education from warm experts such as children, grandchildren, and friends. However, as not everyone can rely on this kind of informal help, many older adults are at risk of being unwillingly left without digital support and necessary digital skills. In this article, we examine non-formal digital support and peer tutoring as a way to promote digital and social inclusion through the acquisition of necessary digital skills. First, we ask: (a) What is peer tutoring, in the field of digital training, from the peer tutors’ point of view? Then, based on the first research question, we further ask (b) what are the key characteristics of peer tutoring in relation to other forms of digital support? Our thematic analysis is based on semi-structured interviews (n = 21) conducted in Central Finland in 2022 with peer tutors aged between 63 and 84. Peer tutors offered individual guidance by appointment and also supported their peers in group-based settings. Based on our study, we argue that from the peer tutors’ point of view, being a peer entails sharing an age group or a similar life situation and provides an opportunity for side-by-side learning. Although every encounter as a peer tutor is different and the spectrum of digital support is wide, these encounters share specific key characteristics, such as the experience of equality between the tutor and the tutee that distinguishes non-formal peer support from formal and informal learning.

Keywordsdigitalisationinformal learningolder peoplepeer supportpeer relationshipsdirection (instruction and guidance)

Free keywordsdigital inclusion; digital skills; informal learning; non-formal learning; older adults; peer support; peer tutor

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-15-05 at 13:04