Follow a 65-year-old to a digital learning class!

ZOOM meetings, WhatsApp video calls and QR codes… thanks to the pandemic, these technological tools have become firmly embedded in our lives. As Singaporeans become more technologically-savvy, it’s important that the silver generation is not left behind.

That’s why the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched Seniors Go Digital, a programme where ambassadors at the SG Digital Community Hubs provide one-on-one guidance to seniors on how to use messaging services like WhatsApp, access government services and make e-payments via their smartphones.

Madam Theresa Tan, 65, recently learnt about the programme and made an appointment to attend a free session at the Sembawang Public Library, a stone’s throw away from her home. Read on to find out what happened when we followed Madam Tan on her learning journey!

SG Digital hub in the library

Arriving for her lesson
Madam Tan arrived at the library and immediately spotted a group of people in purple polo t-shirts – the SG Digital Ambassadors – and she was assigned an ambassador who would be her “teacher” for the session.

Digital literacy assessment

Assessing her digital literacy

The ambassador first helped Madam Tan to connect her smartphone to the free Wireless@SGx Wi-Fi network so Madam Tan didn’t have to worry about her mobile data charges.

Next, the ambassador assessed Madam Tan’s digital literacy, such as her ability to use WhatsApp for messaging and the TraceTogether app to scan SafeEntry QR codes. This allowed the ambassador to customise the lesson for Madam Tan.

Learning to make video calls

Learning systematically

The ambassador shared that seniors will be guided through three tiers of digital skills – Communication Skills (Tier 1), Digital Government Services (Tier 2) and e-Payments and Digital Banking (Tier 3). Since it was Madam Tan’s first lesson, the ambassador focused on strengthening her digital communication skills, such as text messaging and making video calls. Madam Tan could simply make another appointment with the ambassador to complete the remaining tiers.

Picking up new WhatsApping tricks

Picking up new tricks

While Madam Tan had been using WhatsApp for about six years, she was surprised to learn some new tricks from the ambassador.

“I didn’t know that I can actually swipe up instead of continuously pressing the microphone icon for hands-free recording and sending of voice messages on WhatsApp,” said Madam Tan excitedly.

She added: “I’m also amazed by how useful the voice-to-text function is. I can now send long messages, even in Mandarin, without having to type out everything. This is especially handy when I forget how to write certain Chinese characters.”

Reinforcing learning with summarised notes

Reinforcing her learning

Although Madam Tan felt comfortable with the learning pace, she was worried that she might forget once her lesson was over. The ambassador promptly scribbled a note for Madam Tan, summarising the four key functions they had discussed and even drawing the relevant icons so she could easily identify them on her phone.  

Receiving stamps on the activity pack

Learning and winning

At the end of the 45-minute session, the ambassador gave Madam Tan a Seniors Go Digital Activity Pack with stamps marked on the various tasks that she had completed.

The Activity Pack, which looks like a Monopoly board game, encourages seniors to continue learning by gamifying the experience. With every four stamps collected, seniors have an opportunity to spin a wheel and win prizes. Each senior can redeem up to five prizes.

When invited to book her next appointment, Madam Tan agreed without hesitation. Giving a thumbs up, the cheerful senior said: “The Seniors Go Digital programme is a great initiative. The one-on-one coaching helps me learn things at my own pace. I can’t wait to impress my children with the new ‘tricks’ I learnt on my mobile phone!”

Sign up today!

If you are 60 years old and above, you can sign up for a free guided learning session at any of the SG Digital Community Hubs located at selected community centres and public libraries. These hubs are open daily (except public holidays) from 10am to 6.30pm, unless otherwise stated.

Check out or call IMDA at 6377 3800 to locate your nearest SG Digital Community Hub.

Happy learning!

Article published on 25/2/2021