A Multilevel Model of Older Adults’ Appropriation of ICT and Acquisition of Digital Literacy

Eija Kärnä, Lotta Aavikko, Rebekka Rohner, Vera Gallistl, Kaisa Pihlainen, Claudia Müller, Anja Ehlers, Roberta Bevilacqua, Stefano Strano, Elvira Maranesi, Katerina Cerna, Lisa Hengl, Franz Kolland, Franz Waldenberger, Gerd Naegele, Sieun Park, Moritz Hess, Verena Reuter, Susanne Frewer-Graumann, Kristiina Korjonen-Kuusipuro

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

3 Citations (Scopus)


Digital literacy refers to a set of competencies related to the skilled use of computers and information technology. Low digital skills can be a barrier for older adults' full participation in a digital society, and COVID-19 has increased this risk of social exclusion. Older adults' digital inclusion is a complex process that consists of the interplay of structural and individual factors. The ACCESS project unwrapped the complexity of the process and developed an innovative, multilevel model that illustrates how societal, institutional, material and pedagogical aspects shape adults' appropriation of digital literacy. A holistic model describes factors contributing to older adults' digital literacy, acknowledging sociocultural contexts, environments, learning settings and instruction practices for learning digital literacy. Instead of seeing older adults' reasons for learning digital skills purely as individual choice, this model recognizes the interpersonal, institutional and societal aspects that implicitly or explicitly influence older adults' acquisition of digital literacy. The results offer a tool for stakeholders, the research community, companies, designers and other relevant stakeholders to consider digital skills and the given support. It demands diverse communication between different stakeholders about the things that should be discussed when organizing digital support in digitalized societies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15714
Pages (from-to)15714
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Aged
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Literacy
  • Multilevel Analysis


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