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Older individuals 'can benefit from e-learning'

schedule 28th March 2012 by Virtual College in Virtual College Last updated on 7th July 2016

Learning new skills assists the mental health and wellbeing of older individuals and should be encouraged, one cognitive therapist has advised.

Dan Roberts, founder of, said is it "certainly a good idea to keep learning as we grow older" adding this should not just be limited to gaining academic qualifications.

E-learning and online learning can enable individuals to follow courses remotely without needing to visit a college and Mr Roberts explained "learning a new skill, whether physical or mental, is just as important as doing a PhD".

"Because we know the brain keeps growing and changing throughout our lives, it's definitely a bad idea to think we can just give up on studying and stretching ourselves because we hit middle-age," he remarked.

E-learning is being utilised at a growing rate both in the UK and around the world and the University of the Third Age recently revealed plans to expand its online services as part of a four-point plan to increase the amount of learning opportunities available to the elderly in light of recent criticism over standards in care homes.

Mr Roberts added taking a lifelong approach to learning, rather than stopping as people grow older, is a "win-win situation" thanks to the mental and wellbeing benefits of constantly stimulating the brain and developing new skills.

The trend has accelerated in recent years thanks to technological advances - such as faster internet connections and the introduction of tablet computers - and Global Industry Analysts (GIA) expect the value of the worldwide e-learning sector to reach $107 billion (£67 billion) by 2015.

Previously, GIA noted online learning has many advantages over traditional computer-based sessions, including reduced costs, a centralised storage point for content and uniformity of delivery to end users, adding "rapid growth" is likely to take place in the corporate market as a result.

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Author: Virtual College

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