We are living in a technology dependent world these days. Online platforms have become a convenient way to secure goods, services and pay without leaving the comforts of home. However, not everyone is able to access the online platforms with ease. There were reports on the plight of senior citizens struggling to catch on to the widely-adapted technological trend or even trust the technology. This opens tremendous potential for our youth to share their technology savviness for the betterment of society and improving financial inclusion.
Team Few-Clicks-Away from the service-learning MPU module offered at Victoria University Business Programme (VUUP) was intrigued by these reports. They decided to explore the digital needs of senior citizens in their local community. They approached a few aged-care facilities but received some initial rejection. Shifting their target audience to the more independent and able senior citizens who are retirees, they managed to secure an interested group from Wangsa Baiduri, Subang Jaya for their digital literacy programme. First, the team interviewed the seniors to find out what digital limitations they faced on a daily basis. Then, the team brainstormed and designed a digital literacy training programme specially tailored to address the seniors’ needs.
Finally, led by final year VUBB student Howe Yong Bin, who is specialising in Marketing and International Trade, a training session lasting around an hour was conducted by the team with 17 eager attendees. What was impressive was that each student in the team took turns to take the lead on a different topic to conduct in the training session. Short video clips and guides containing step-by-step direction and visuals were created, demonstrated during the training session and then distributed to the seniors as reference for them to navigate the platforms on their own. There was positive feedback attained from the session and in the end, the seniors also enjoyed learning how to use filters to create funny visuals of themselves.
An added value to this project was when the team sought the expertise of an Information Technology student from the Sunway Diploma Studies (SDS), Xuanao Zhao. He used his passion for digital content creation and editing coupled with his excellent communication skill to produce an informative video on cybersecurity. The video specifically addressed the valid concerns and fears the seniors harbored on using online payment and gave them more assurance and trust in them. It also featured VUBB law lecturer Dharshini Balasingam sharing her experience and insights on online banking and security threats.
It was valuable, entertaining and heartwarming to see how the youth could establish new bond with older adults through a simple yet thoughtful collaborative project that make use of access to technological applications and their skills.