Learning in the Third Age



  • Anita Sinner (Concordia University)
  • Dustin Garnet (California State University)
  • Cindy Walker (Concordia University)
  • Ranya Esmat (Concordia University)
  • Seonjeong Yi (Concordia University)

Lifelong learning

As the number of seniors grows, expectations of universities as public institutions will require a reorientation in curriculum design and instructional delivery.

During this project, a team of researchers studied “third-age learners” (i.e., retirees and people over 65) in community art classes and how pedagogy can adapt to their needs. 

A subsequent study drew its conclusions from an eight-month community art education (CAE) program geared towards the over-65 demographics taking place at Concordia University. The workshops were three hours per week, from September to April, taught by student-teachers in the CAE program.

Four retirees — three women and one man — participated. Workshops covered an array of art techniques, such as mural making and light painting. Student-teachers took notes and photos during class. Researchers conducted bi-weekly interviews, incorporating those photos as conversation prompts, as well as asking generic questions and tailored questions for each participant.

The study explored large questions about motivation, curriculum and pedagogy, but also focused on major themes in lifelong learning and the individual stories of the participants. 

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