Later life learning from experience: the cross-cultural importance of ‘life reviews’ in seniors’ lifelong education and learning
Richards, C 2019, 'Later life learning from experience: the cross-cultural importance of ‘life reviews’ in seniors’ lifelong education and learning', Zeitschrift fuer Weiterbildungsforschung (Journal of Research on Adult Education).
Lifelong education for seniors is becoming a significant policy focus because of factors relating to the global aging society phenomenon. Yet the modern ‘educational demoralisation’ that can result from informal experiential learning not being sufficiently valued or encouraged, may also apply to later life learning— typically manifest as a ‘fear of ageing’ as well as ageism. This is especially so in contexts where policymakers tend to just mainly focus on the worrying economic, health and other related challenges of growing numbers of seniors living longer in ageing societies (i.e. without sufficiently linking this to the related qualitative challenges of a meaningful and resilient life course). Conversely however, there is also growing recognition that ‘life reviews’ in later stages of the human lifecycle have an important lifelong education and learning purpose with also important cross-cultural relevance for addressing the related resiliency dilemmas facing many seniors around the world. In other words, if another key function of later life learning is the informal sharing of knowledge, stories and experience through social (and social media) networks, then it might be that developing countries have as much to offer as more developed countries when it comes to emerging models of third age (and fourth age) models of lifelong learning for seniors—if not more. On such a basis for better grounding policy in practice or actual lived human experience, the paper will thus discuss the cross-culturally universal importance of a ‘life review’ function of later life learning as also an integral requirement of the most effective ‘active ageing’ policies and practices.