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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
recently thought about coming up with a class for beginner computer users. I am really looking to tailor this more towards older people who want to learn how to use a computer. My grandparents recently bought a computer and seem to be having a lot of trouble with it and I want to help them but I think that something like this would be very helpful to other people too. I realize that there are programs out there that you can buy that will teach you how to use your computer but I feel that a classroom setting would be better for something like this. Since most of the people that I would be looking to help would generally be older people I would be looking to do this for free or just enough to cover any type of costs that I have. Once it gets established I may charge a small fee for the classes but I know that a lot of retired people don't have a lot of money to spare so I don't want to break the bank.

So here is what I am looking for for the users here....I would like ideas of what people should know about how to use their computers. I thing that starting with a very basic class about learning to turn the computer on and off properly and a few other simple things like that would be a great way to start. I would poll the class to see what they are interested in learning and also to find out what there comfort level is with their computer. After the first class I would create a syllabus that I would hand out at the second class and that way all of the attendees would be able to decided if they wanted to attend classes on certain subjects based off of how comfortable they feel with the subject for that class. I want to cover things as simple as loading software or printing a page from the internet. I would also cover topics about identity theft and viruses and phishing.

The reason that I want to do this in a classroom type setting is because I think that it would be good to be able to help people one on one whenever possible. I'm sure that the pre-made programs are work fine but one of the problems that I can see running into is that some computers are different and these are people that may not be very technologically advanced and so they may not "just figure it out".

Any help or advice that anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated. I figured that since this is a tech support forum that this would be a good place to start. This isn't something that will be done any time real soon but I figure that since I am sitting here in Afghanistan I have time to work on the general idea for it all and then refine it as we go.
 

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Well ,you could teach 1 on 1 for a while ,i mean the basics but after that's accomplished you probably wont have the time and resources for that any more and that's a fact depending on the size of the class , number of staff and not to mention old people get frustrated easily with technology.

After they know the basics ,it's probably time to move on to a user friendly tutor program like the one they had me use at JFY ,it's called Prove it 4.0 and it's a very good program ,it can take you from not knowing anything to a pro in areas like navigating win XP ,Mword , and hundreds of other programs ,it will teach you something from anything but it will go threw most of it in terms of understanding basic functions and skill level. The program is some sort of emulator that clones whatever programs/OS into a test of navigation and functionality ,very cool and fun ,i wish i could get my hands on it for home use but i haven't had any luck.
 

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Well ,you could teach 1 on 1 for a while ,i mean the basics but after that's accomplished you probably wont have the time and resources for that any more and that's a fact depending on the size of the class , number of staff and not to mention old people get frustrated easily with technology.

After they know the basics ,it's probably time to move on to a user friendly tutor program like the one they had me use at JFY ,it's called Prove it 4.0 and it's a very good program ,it can take you from not knowing anything to a pro in areas like navigating win XP ,Mword , and hundreds of other programs ,it will teach you something from anything but it will go threw most of it in terms of understanding basic functions and skill level. The program is some sort of emulator that clones whatever programs/OS into a test of navigation and functionality ,very cool and fun ,i wish i could get my hands on it for home use but i haven't had any luck.
 

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I believe there is an outdated program called "Microsoft Interactive Training" that shows step to step instructions for using windows XP. It came with my MCE 2005 PC and i think it would be great for Microsoft to make an updated version of it for Vista and eventually 7 as well. Unfortunately i think it's no longer supported and it'd be a miracle if you can find a copy of it to use in class.

With that aside, it's a wonderful idea that you want to start a class. However, if your clients have little to no knowledge of computers such as seniors who have never used one in their life, then it may take them awhile or perhaps not at all to fully take advantage of what they've learned in a class and apply it in other situations. Different computers have different set ups and the most notorious question they'd be asking you is "where do i start this machine?" on their iMac or laptop when all you've shown them is how to do it in a regular XP desktop.

What i've found best is to show them how to do certain things first on a presentation screen or directly stream the video to each of the PCs like they do in a school environment. Then help the students as they progress and occasionally give out printed or written instruction on a blackboard or piece of paper if needed.
 

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I believe there is an outdated program called "Microsoft Interactive Training" that shows step to step instructions for using windows XP. It came with my MCE 2005 PC and i think it would be great for Microsoft to make an updated version of it for Vista and eventually 7 as well. Unfortunately i think it's no longer supported and it'd be a miracle if you can find a copy of it to use in class.

With that aside, it's a wonderful idea that you want to start a class. However, if your clients have little to no knowledge of computers such as seniors who have never used one in their life, then it may take them awhile or perhaps not at all to fully take advantage of what they've learned in a class and apply it in other situations. Different computers have different set ups and the most notorious question they'd be asking you is "where do i start this machine?" on their iMac or laptop when all you've shown them is how to do it in a regular XP desktop.

What i've found best is to show them how to do certain things first on a presentation screen or directly stream the video to each of the PCs like they do in a school environment. Then help the students as they progress and occasionally give out printed or written instruction on a blackboard or piece of paper if needed.
 

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I fall into that catagory of "older generation" but was lucky enough to grow in parallel with computers. Its time folks recognized the average "older" person had to figure out many machines as complex as computers, and few had formal training to do it.
I think a half-hour discussion stating a computer is a little more complicated then driving a car but a little less complicated then sewing would loosen up the crowd, then a demo on photography, internet hobby lookups (think google) and message boards. Turn em lose! A computer isn't as complicated as a combine, a VCR or a Model A which they are all familiar with.
 

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I agree with Knotbored, I am also "old", and find a computer much easier than some other gadgets.
On the other hand, there are some people who will never learn, I explained hundreds of times to people the difference between a web browser, email, ISP, on-line email etc. how to save files, but some people never get it.
I would stress the teachings to be internet related, since most other "older" people want to stay in contact with relatives.
Make sure they know how important Internet Security programs are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all who have replied already. I am coming up with a lot of really good stuff that I think would be very useful. I realize that there are programs out there that will help people learn how to use their computer, but when I look at the fact that some people have problems with just loading software, I think that an in person lesson would be more suitable. The other thing is that I know that people like my grandparents like to get together with other people and so I think that this would be a great way to get them out of the house to meet a few others that are somewhat in the same shape that they all are in. I realize that there are a lot of "older" people out there that have learned how to use computers and have figured out that they really aren't all that complicated, but I think that a lot of times people who have never really used a computer before hear different information through different news sources and it scares them...and let's face it, depending on who you talk to....they can make it sound like it is a lot more complicated than it actually is. I really just want to give them the tools to get started and then show them how to look up the information that they need. I plan on covering some simple things like navigating on the comptuer (opening, closing, creating, and deleting folders, renaming files, loading and removing software, doing computer updates) and from there I plan on covering things like email (creating an email account, sending an email including attaching pictures and other attachments, and some of the risks associated with email including phishing scams and viruses).

Knotbored, I like your idea of breaking the ice by explaining that a computer is slightly more complicated than driving a car but not as complicated as sewing. I think giving them things that they can relate too would be a great way to start building confidence in them and to make it so they start believing that they can do it. I agree that many of these older generation people had to figure out much more complicated things back in the day, both sets of my grandparents were farmers and my parents are farmers as well. My dad has been farming for most of his life and he can fix a tractor or replace a transmission in the pick-up but yet when it comes to the computer he can't quite get it. I have tried to write out specific directions for him so that he can do certain things but when he tries it he gives up and has my mom do it (who thinks that she knows a lot about computers but whenever she runs into a small problem calls me and either I have to remote into her computer or walk her through solving the issue).

When I get a chance I will post a list of the things that I have already come up with to discuss. One of the things that I am planning on doing the first day is to actually ask the class what some of the things that they would like to learn in the class are. I figure this way they will be getting out of it what they want to learn. Thanks again for the advice and please keep it coming.
 

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hiiii
Here u will get all information related to online CBT(computer bsed training)
IT training programs

We are pleased to offer private, on-site classes for organizations seeking to train 10 or more. We have Self-Study Solution Packages, Computer Based Training, On-Line Training, and we develop customized training for your needs.Logical Security leads the industry by providing comprehensive and varied educational solutions to meet a variety of needs.

i hope u will get the answer.
 

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I also am of the "Older" category along with a couple of others who posted here.

I was fortunate in my working years to be exposed to computers (starting with the original Apple MacIntosh) while I was employed as an engineer in orbital space systems manufacturing. I've been retired now for 15 years. I've never been to any sort formal training, yet at this time I maintain 15 different computers for family and friends. Many of those folks are totally computer illiterate and needed to be shown how to do some simple basic things like create and download email (a biggie), open and read an attachment, download music and just how to turn the machine on and off properly.

The single most significant hurdle to getting most of them started was what I refer to as "FEAR OF THE MOUSE". :D Convincing someone who is computer illiterate they can't do any irreparable harm to the machine is paramount. To break the machine would be embarrassing and discouraging. Simple things like which button to push can easily confuse many older people.

For this reason, when I'm working with someone who is intimidated by the computer (it's not difficult to tell), I use the Recycle bin to give them something totally innocuous to practice on. I create 2 or 3 folders on the desktop and give them different names. Then have the "student" right click and select "Delete" (right-click practice). Then I have them open the Recycle Bin (Double-click practice OR right-click/Open), right click and select "Restore", which puts the folder back on the desktop. I use variations on this to allow the person to gain confidence in using the mouse. This will, in many cases, stimulate their interest in learning more. I've found this first step of getting past the "FEAR OF THE MOUSE" to be like opening a door to many. This method also allows the person to understand computers can accomplish almost any given task in multiple ways and any of them are OK to use.

Anyone who uses a computer knows the first requisite to learning about computers is one must be interested in doing so. I take the approach of doing what I can to stimulate interest.

Raybro
 
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