Mobilising assistance via complaints in digital skills courses for adults

Valitukset avun mobilisoinnissa aikuisille suunnatuilla digitaalisten taitojen kursseilla


  • Joonas Råman Oulun yliopisto
  • Florence Oloff Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache (Mannheim), University of Oulu


multimodaalinen keskustelunanalyysi, aikuiskoulutus, digitaaliset taidot, avun mobilisointi


Within a rapidly digitalising society, it is important to understand how the learning and teaching of digital skills play out in situ, particularly amongst older adults who acquire these skills later in life. This paper focuses on participants engaged in the process of learning digital skills in adult education courses. Using video recordings from adult education centres in Finland and Germany, we explore how students mobilise their teachers’ assistance when encountering problems with their smartphones, laptops or tablets. Prior research on social interaction has shown that assistance can be recruited through a variety of verbal and embodied formats. In this specific educational setting, participants can use complaints about their digital skills or mobile devices to obtain assistance. Utilising multimodal conversation analysis, we describe two basic sequence types involving students’ complaints, discuss their cross-linguistic characteristics, and reflect on their connection to this educational setting and digital devices.