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The current study examined teaching modalities used by college students participating in an intergenerational, service-learning program that helps older adults learn technology and described reasons for older adults' continued participation in this program. Qualitative data analysis was completed using student-maintained observation logs from approximately 200 older participants. Several different teaching modalities used by student mentors were identified, including observing and listening, writing down information or creating visual aids, explaining the significance and simplifying materials, using repetition/review, and using hands-on learning. Multiple reasons for older adults' continued participation were identified, including continued progress on one topic or device; multiple topics for advanced use; learning multiple modalities to get connected; and continued learning through take-a-ways, practice, and homework. Service-learning programs can help educate health and human service professionals on best practices for working with older adults.


Skye N. Leedahl has a dual appointment with the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and the Department of Political Science.