When Rob first came to Community Action, he was very nervous. But Gary – one of our longest-serving Digital Champions – put him at ease. Rob was kind enough to speak with Community Action to talk about his experience with us so far.
When you first came to us, how did you feel?
Absolutely terrified. I didn’t know anything at all about computers or what any of it meant. I had been on a tablet a few times, but it’s different when you see a computer. For the first and the second visit, I was undecided on whether to still come – I was so terrified.
What was it that was terrifying?
It’s just not knowing anything. To put it into context, it’s like having your first driving lesson – you know, the anticipation, the ‘what is it going to be like’, ‘will I take to it?’ And the sort of worry it was giving me – I have anxiety problems.
But when the third lesson came, I started to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. And that was thanks to Gary. He put me at ease on the first day.
When you first came to us, what type of help did you want with the computer?
I just wanted everything. And I liked it because it was face to face. I know that can be a problem with what’s going on, but it’s the only way I think I’m going to learn. I did try Learn My Way over the phone with another organisation – I was told to press things that I wasn’t sure what they did. And I was just going along with it, saying that I understand when I didn’t. I just wanted to get that lesson over with. Over the phone didn’t work with me somehow.
And how did you get on with Gary?
Great! As I said, he put me at ease.
In the third lesson, I started to take a little bit in. I was remembering stuff he’d said on the first and second week, and it was beginning to take shape, it was beginning to stick together.
In the fourth lesson, it was getting even better still. And I was remembering quite a few things and shortcuts he had shown me – he had shown me a lot of shortcuts. And we actually sat down, face to face, for a while.
Compared to when you first came in, how do you feel now when you sit down in front of a computer?
I’m quite happy to come in now, when I wasn’t on the first and second lesson. And since we last spoke, I have gone back on to Learn My Way, and it does seem to be making sense now – I know what I’m pressing so I know what to expect. I am finding Learn My Way far easier to do. So I’m going to continue doing that as well.
What are your thoughts on Learn My Way? Do you think it’s a good website or a good tool to learn IT skills?
Yeah, I do. That first time I did it with another organisation, I think I had ten lessons – one a week. I just wasn’t taking much of it in. As soon as the phone went down, I more or less forgot what we’d done.
Now when I go on it, things are coming back to me. I’ve got a good idea of what I’m actually doing now. It’s just far better this second time round.
What’s your aim with Learn My Way? What do you want to feel comfortable doing on a computer?
I suppose to fill in online forms, to help me get a blood test or the general sort of things that crop up. I’m not that great on a phone. I’ve had a phone for two years, and it’s only these past couple of weeks that I’ve sent two text messages, which I have never done before. I didn’t know how to do them. So I can send text messages now.
I think I could probably just about send an email. But what I’m aiming for is to keep learning little bits – to be able to compose a letter, to go into spellcheck because of my spelling problems. And I can do all that now with Gary’s help. Gary has shown me another tip where I can press a button and it will actually read what I’ve put down. It reads it back to me, which I find is a great help.
I suppose further than that, it’s just learning a bit more. I’m never going to become an expert, but I just wished I’d started before, a few years ago, instead of waiting until I’m 75. At least I can see the funny side of it now.
If you would like to learn more about Learn My Way, please click here.