Online Continuing Education Courses for Seniors

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Aviva Altschuler

Project Title: Virtual Baycrest Learning Academy

What is the issue?

Lifelong learning is good for brain health. Taking courses also provides opportunities to socialize and build self-esteem. Seniors living in long-term care do not usually have access to continuing education opportunities.

What did we do?

We studied the impact of delivering courses to seniors living with and without dementia in a long-term care home and in a retirement residence. We worked in partnership with Ryerson University’s 50+ Program and used Zoom teleconferencing technology to deliver the courses online and in person.

What did we find?

Both live and in-person lectures were associated with maintaining quality of life, mood, and social engagement. Video conferencing technology allowed more seniors to participate, although their knowledge about how to use it varied. Participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the audio and video quality, as well as their ability to participate and understand course content. They appreciated the opportunity to discuss and debate issues with a university professor and other participants. Most said they wanted to continue taking courses in the future.