Serious learning: Older adults in university continuing education

Thesis type
(Thesis) Ed.D.
Date created
2021-06-07
Authors/Contributors
Author: Smith, Mark
Abstract
Non-credit programs for older adults have had a peripheral but growing role in Canadian universities since the 1970s (Ratsoy, 2016; Findsen & Formosa, 2011). As the population ages, interest in such programs is increasing, but they remain relatively neglected in research (Findsen, 2018; Kops, 2017; Snyder & Taylor, 2012). Adding to the literature that takes older adult learning more seriously, this case study describes in depth the experience of learners in a continuing studies program for older adults in a Canadian university, anonymized as the "Seniors Program." Through critical reflexivity and narrative inquiry, using insight from my perspective as a member of the Seniors Program's administrative team, I tell a story of the program which includes: the problem of exclusion of so many from older adult learning at university; the persistence of older paradigms of learning; the contrast between passively accepting facts and actively exploring mystery as a learner; the question of whether older adult learners in general are significantly different from younger; and ageism and issues of gender. To illustrate these themes, I describe a specific initiative in the Seniors Program, the introduction of courses and events exploring end-of-life issues. I address the unacknowledged complexities of older adult learning, and the potential and challenges of programs for older adult learners in university settings.
Document
Identifier
etd21431
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
Permissions
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Smythe, Suzanne
Language
English
Member of collection
Attachment Size
input_data\21492\etd21431.pdf 1.42 MB