Older learning is alive and well and is, in my view, set to make significant
contributions to education. I believe there are some significant differences
between the way that younger and older people approach and tackle learning.
This will become more significant as we seei increasing numbers of mixed age
learning groups in further and higher education. The UK Universities figure is
15% of undergraduates, and at my largely post-graduate institution it is about
10%. These older students can be a very successful learning group.
I wonder if others agree also that a steady influx of older people as part of
educational contexts [i.e. as teachers as well as learners] will bring new
benefits of inter-generational learning, such as maturity, criticality, and
There is as yet little more than anecdotal evidence, but it seems to me that -
given we now know older people outnumber children under 16 in the UK [Office
of National Statistics, 21 August 2008
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?ID=949 ], the situation is
interesting, to say the least. If you feel the same, you may wish to know
more about a new master's level module** at the Institute of Education in
which we investigate the widely diverse contexts of older learning. It is
delivered by blended learning with the emphasis on peer collaboration.
As the first programme of its kind, we see it as an acknowledgement that the
older population is thriving in educational settings and will continue to play an
Anita Pincas, [log in to unmask]
Senior Lecturer, Institute of Education, University of London
** Issues in Educating and Training Mature Adults (50+)