Learn Digital@Wesley – A golden opportunity

Learn Digital
Confident participants of the inaugural batch of Learn Digital@Wesley

A new initiative for seniors to pick up digital skills has been launched at Wesley Methodist Church. Learn Digital@Wesley (LDW) is an initiative of Wesley Communications in collaboration with Wesley Glowing Years Ministry (WGYM). The pandemic had magnified the need to be digitally-savvy, and it was particularly challenging for seniors to pick up these skills.

Making digital headway in Wesley

From feedback received, seniors at Wesley had expressed the desire to learn how to access information and carry out everyday tasks more expediently online. Recognising this need, Kevyn Lai, Wesley’s Pastoral Team Member (Communications) said, “We wanted Wesleyans and friends to gain confidence and not feel left behind. We wanted to help them to use digital technology confidently in their daily lives, and support their discipleship journey.”

Discussion and planning for LDW started as early as 2019, led by then Communications Chairperson (now LCEC Chairperson), Alvin Tay. It was halted when Covid-19 set in and resumed at the end of 2022 in partnership with SG Digital Office (SDO), a government body that was set up to drive digital adoption in the community. LDW was customised to include modules specific to Wesley. Packaged in four sessions over three months, the workshops are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and led by SDO’s Digital Ambassadors. To help seniors take their first steps confidently, lessons were conducted at a comfortable pace in peer learning groups.

Designed for seniors

Echoing the need to help Wesleyans navigate the digital landscape with confidence, Koh Geok Cheng, vice-chairperson of WGYM said, “Seniors may become increasingly isolated if they do not go digital—not only socially, but also in their daily living, as seen by how the Covid-19 pandemic has evolved and transformed the way we do things.”

To support the communication needs of the church ministries, LDW participants learned to access Wesley’s website and other church platforms such as its Telegram channel for information and to perform online registrations. Besides being aware of cybersecurity issues, they also learned to connect to Wesley’s wireless network while in church. In addition, the participants also familiarised themselves with government applications such as SingPass and Health Buddy, and communications platforms like email, WhatsApp and Telegram.

“Just as church staff gather for micro-learning sessions under the Wesley Learning Circle workshops to support each other with software solutions relevant to ministry work, the same concept is applied to the objectives and facilitation of LDW,” said Kevyn.

Approved by seniors

Fully subscribed soon after it was offered, the programme’s hands-on practice and on-the-spot consultation were especially welcomed. Claris Keong, who serves in Worship & Music Ministry, appreciated the 30-person cap which allowed for enough interaction with the facilitators. Adding that the SDO’s digital ambassadors and Wesley’s Communications staff were very accommodating, she said, “Their explanations were clear and accompanied by videos. I now appreciate and make better use of WhatsApp, and know the difference between Android and iOS applications.”

During the session on Cybersecurity, the SDO partnered with the Neighbourhood Police Centre from Tanglin Division to give participants a clearer picture of scams and ways to counter them.

Hoping that participants who have taken part in the first run will share with others the experience they have gained, Geok Cheng shared, “We hope to feature Wesley seniors as digital role models who will encourage fellow seniors to take a leap forward if they have not already done so.”

Future plans

Registration for the second part of the first run of LDW will open soon for Wesleyans and friends. This is slated for July 2023 and will cover accessing online platforms and practical applications such as digital transactions, Google Translate, transport, food and media channels.

WGYM has also appointed its own Digital Ambassadors, John Lim and Ng Chai Seng, who have been actively supporting the learning and administration of LDW workshops.

NPC officer answering questions on cybersecurity
NPC officer answering questions on cybersecurity

Praise for the programme

“The cybersecurity session made me aware of the different types of scams, and how to handle them—there’s no need to panic! I learnt to download the ScamShield app, how to report scams, and how to block unwanted numbers. I now have stronger passwords for my different accounts.”
~ Cathryn Tan, serves in Wesley Women’s Cancer Support Group

“Learn Digital@Wesley is welcoming and fun. The trainers make all the difference—they are patient, explained clearly, and gave us one-on-one assistance. This workshop has widened my digital understanding in an unthreatening manner.”
~ Doris Chow, serves in Small Group Ministry

“I’m pleasantly surprised and glad that Wesley cares for ‘computer-bodoh’ people like me and arranged this helpful series of talks.”
~ Tan Kee Cheong, serves in Discipleship & Nurture Ministry

Marjorie Tan serves in various ministries including the Small Group and Glowing Years Ministries at Wesley Methodist Church. / Photos courtesy of Marjorie Tan