This report presents a social impact evaluation of 'Be Connected', an Australian government Digital Literacy for Older Australians program.
The evaluation assesses the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of 'Be Connected' and aims to inform future policy direction on the basis of the program’s achievements, strengths and limitations. Through a mixed-methods, 3-year study gathering insights from the experiences of 915 program participants and stakeholders, the research team found that:
- A nationally funded network approach to delivering digital skills support for older Australians works because it empowers diverse partner organisations – from libraries and computer clubs, to retirement villages, aged care facilities and Men’s Sheds – to reach more older Australians in their local communities through trusted relationships.
- Be Connected has successfully developed the capacity of more than 9,800 Digital Mentors to act as a frontline for digital skills development.
- Adaptive, flexible and up-to-date online learning resources act as a touchpoint for Network Partners, Digital Mentors and learners.
- Be Connected had a statistically significant impact on participants’ foundational digital skills and knowledge, digital confidence, social connectedness and loneliness, and online safety.
- Be Connected has delivered a positive social return on investment