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Table 4 Comparison summary of this study and previous studies that compare age groups

From: Bringing technology to the mature classroom: age differences in use and attitudes

Previous studyMethodsKey resultsComparison with the current study
Age differences in attitudes toward computers (Czaja & Sharit, 1998)384 non-student lay adults, aged 20 to 75
Focus on computers: participants did a 3-day computer-based task, with pre-task and post-task quantitative questionnaires
• No age differences in overall attitudea
• Attitude dimensions: comfort, efficacy, control
• Older people were less comfortable and viewed themselves as having less efficacy and control over computersb
• Experience led to more positive attitudes
The current study:
• Uses a student sample (rather than non-students)
• Explores attitudes to technology more generally (of which computers are a part)
• Is an up-to-date examination of technology attitudes
The information aged: A qualitative study of older adults’ use of information and communications technology (Selwyn, 2004)35 non-student lay adults, aged 61–84
Semi-structured interviews on general ICT use with a focus on computers
• Older adults use less technologya
• Older adults use computers for specific tasks, mainly at home
• Older adults use older technologies
• Use of technology at work doesn’t mean older adults choose technology at homeb
The current study:
• Explores the attitudes of students (rather than non-students)
• Has a larger sample size
• Explores attitudes to technology in a broader sense than just ICT
• Is an up-to-date examination of technology attitudes
The legacy of the digital divide: Gender, socioeconomic status, and early exposure as predictors of full-spectrum technology use among young adults (Ching, Basham, & Jang, 2005)130 undergraduates, 16% aged 26+, 60% aged 21 or younger
Quantitative questionnaire on a range of technologies (laptops, desktops, mp3 players, calculators, mobile phones, scanners, digital cameras, applications)
• Attitude dimensions reflected types of technologies: construction, communication, entertainment
• The younger the student when they started using technology, the more frequently they use it now
• Students who choose technology for their personal lives choose it for work and educationb
The current study:
• Uses a sample where a larger proportion were mature (30% compared to 16%), allowing a more robust comparison
• Is an up-to-date examination of technology attitudes
Attitudes and confidence towards computers and books as learning tools: a cross-sectional study of student cohorts (Garland & Noyes, 2005)178 students in four age groups: A-level; level 1 undergraduates; full time mature students (mean age = 35.42); distance mature students (mean age = 36.71)
Quantitative questionnaire on computers and books
• Distance mature students had more negative attitudes to computers (and books)
• Full time mature students had lower confidence for computer use and learning from computersb
• Distance mature students had used computers for a longer timea
• Computer confidence and attitude were unrelated
The current study:
• Clearer definition of ‘mature student’
• Explores attitudes to technology more generally (of which computers are a part)
• Is an up-to-date examination of technology attitudes
Factors predicting the use of technology: Findings from the Center for Research and Education on aging and technology enhancement (Czaja et al., 2006)1204 non-student lay adults, aged 18 to 91
Quantitative questionnaire on general technology, with some focus on computers and the Internet
• Older adults were less likely to use technology
• Older adults were more anxious about computersb
• Fewer older adults had experience with computers or the Internet, and used fewer technologiesa
The current study:
• Explores the attitudes of students (rather than non-students)
• Is an up-to-date examination of technology attitudes
The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education (Jelfs & Richardson, 2013)4066 distance-learning students aged from 21 to over 70
Quantitative questionnaire on digital technology generally
• Older students have less access to mobile technologies such as laptops, mobile phones and memory sticks
• Older students spent less time using technologya
• Older students had more negative attitudes to technologyb
The current study:
• Explores the attitudes of students who are primarily non-distance learning, who are more common in UK HE institutions
Investigating attitudes towards the use of mobile learning in higher education
(Al-Emran et al., 2016)
383 university students aged from 18 to above 35
Quantitative questionnaire on mobile technology (smartphones and tablets)
• Students will continue to use the technology they currently use
• Students of different ages have different attitudes (but no indication where the difference lies)b
The current study:
• Explores the attitudes of students above the age of 35 in addition to younger students
• Explores attitudes to technology more generally (of which mobile technologies are a part)
This study161 undergraduates and postgraduates aged from 18 to over 71
Quantitative questionnaire on technology generally
• Mature students use fewer technologies generally and for their course, but not for personal use
• Mature students use technology less frequently
• Mature students have used technology for a longer time
• Attitudinal dimensions: confidence and utility
• No difference in overall attitude or any dimensions for mature students
  1. Note. a indicates similar findings to this study; b indicates different findings to this study