The experience of social housing communities in countries like the United Kingdom suggests that while access to digital infrastructure and equipment is important, access alone does not equate to digital inclusion.
The aim of this research was two-fold, namely to:
Understand the impact of access to and use of the internet, within a community of potentially vulnerable consumers; and,
Determine the strategies that may assist people living in public housing communities to become more digitally aware and enable them to take advantage of online services such as health, government, news, shopping and methods of online communication.
The research also sought to determine what benefits may flow from information technology skills to perceptions of social connectedness, self-efficacy, resilience, health and well-being.
Given that people with low levels of computer literacy typically face greater risk of cognitive overload in attempting to learn new technologies, the principles and guidelines from Cognitive Load Theory were applied to training materials and activities to minimise cognitive load and thereby facilitate learning.
The research was designed with a view to providing important insights into the factors affecting technology adoption for older and disadvantaged people, as well as providing training and interface guidelines and a potential model for other public housing communities to become more digitally aware.