The purpose of the study was to investigate how self-directed later life learning is utilized and interpreted by older adults in their particular environments. The following questions were raised: What are the opportunities for older adults’ engagement in self-directed learning in their environments? How older adults realize their self-directed learning in response to the opportunities provided by their environments? Thematic analysis was used as research method to analyse participants’ experiences and meanings they attribute to self-directed learning in their actual environments. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews with 12 older adults engaged in their self-directed learning pursuits. The findings from the study showed that older adults’ engagement in generativity-based activities, interest-based activities and social networks are contexts of self-directed learning in later life; these contexts support older adults’ self-directed learning by providing learning impetus, opportunities and resources; realization of self-directed learning is influenced by ageing-related changes and individual circumstances of older adults.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
1. Berger P. Luckmann T. (1999). Socialinis tikrovės konstravimas. Vilnius: Pradai.
2. Biesta G. Field J. & Tedder M. (2010). A time for learning: representations of time and the temporal dimensions of learning through the lifecourse. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik 56(3) 317-327.
3. Boulton-Lewis G. M. Buys L. & Lovie-Kitchin J. (2006). Learning and Active Aging Educational Gerontology 32(4) 271-282.
4. Boulton-Lewis G. M. Tam M. Buys L. & Chui E.W. (2016). Hong Kong and Australian seniors: Views of aging and learning. Educational Gerontology 42(11) 758-770.
5. Braun V. & Clarke V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3(2) 77-101.
6. Braun V. & Clarke V. (2014). Guest Editorial: What can ‘thematic analysis offer health and well-being researchers? International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being 9 26152. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4201665/.
7. Buffel T. Verté D. De Donder L. De Witte N. Dury S. Vanwing T. & Bolsenbroek A. (2012). Theorising the relationship between older people and their immediate social living environment. International Journal of Lifelong Education 31(1)13-32.
8. Candy P. C. (1991). Self-direction for lifelong learning: a comprehensive guide to theory and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
9. Carragher L.. & Golding B. (2015). Older Men as Learners: Irish Men’s Sheds as an Intervention. Adult Education Quarterly 65(2) 152–168.
10. Cummins S. A. (2010). Feedback 2.0: An investigation into using sharable feedback tags as programming Feedback. Durham University. Available at: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/400.
11. Eisen M. (1998). Current practice and innovative programs in older adult learning. In. J.C. Fisher and M.A. Wolf (Eds.) Using learning to meet the challenges of older adulthood (pp. 41-55). New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education No.77. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
12. Eraut M. (2004). Informal learning in the workplace. Studies in Continuing Education 26(2) 247-273
13. Erikson E. H. (1963). Childhood and Society. New York: Norton.
14. Findsen B. & Formosa M. (2011). Lifelong learning in later life: A handbook on older adult learning. Rotterdam The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
15. Friebe J. & Schmidt Hertha B. (2012). Educational Activities and Barriers to Education for Elderly People in the Community. Intergenerational solidarity and Older Adults’Education in Community. Proceedings of the third conference of the ESREA Network on Education and Learning of Older Adults. 2012 September 19-21. Ljubljana: University of Ljubljana.
16. Glendenning F. (1992). Educational Gerontology and Gerogogy: a critical perspective. Gerontology & Geriatrics Education 13(1/2) 5-22.
17. Golding B. G. (2011). Social Local and Situated: Recent findings about the effectiveness of older men’s informal learning in community contexts. Adult Education Quarterly 61(2) 103-120.
18. Hiemstra R. & Brockett R.G. (2012). Reframing the Meaning of Self-Directed Learning: An Updated Model. Adult Education Research Conference. Available at: http://newprairiepress.org/aerc/2012/papers/22.
19. Hodkinson P. Ford G. Hodkinson H. & Hawthorn R. (2008). Retirement as a learning process. Educational Gerontology 34 167–184.
20. Howe K.R. & Moses M.S. (1999). Ethics in Educational Research. Review of Research in Education 24 21-59.
21. Illeris K. (2003). Towards a contemporary and comprehensive theory of learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education 22(4) 396-406.
22. Jackson N. J. (2013). Personal Learning Ecology Narratives. In N. J. Jackson and G. B. Cooper (Eds.). Lifewide Learning Education and Personal Development. E-book. Available at: http://www.lifewideebook.co.uk/research.html.
23. Jarvis P. (2012). Learning from Everyday Life. HSSRP 1(1) 1–20. Available at: http://hssrp.uaic.ro/continut/1.pdf.
24. Kasworm C. (2011). New Perspectives on Post-Formal Cognitive Development and Self-Directed Learning. International Journal of Self-Directed Learning 8(1) 18-28.
25. Kvale S. & Brinkmann S. (2009). Interviews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications.
26. Lincoln Y. S. & Guba E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills CA: Sage.
27. Luppi E. (2009) Education in old age: An exploratory study. International Journal of Lifelong Education 28(2) 241-276.
28. Merriam S. B. & Bierema L. L. (2014). Adult learning: Linking theory and practice. San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass.
29. Merriam S. B. & Caffarella R. S. (1999). Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
30. Merriam S. B. & Clark M. C. (2006). Learning and development: The connection in adulthood. In C. Hoare (Ed.). Handbook of adult development and learning (pp. 27–51). London: Oxford University Press.
31. Merriam S.B. Caffarella R.S. & Baumgartner L.M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide. (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
32. Mezirow J. (1991). Transformative Dimensions Of Adult Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
33. Neikrug M. S. (1998). The Value of Gerontological Knowledge for Elders: A Study of the Relationship between knowledge on Aging and Worry about the Future. Educational Gerontology 24 287-296.
34. Neikrug S. Ronen M. Glanz D. Alon T. Kanner S. Kaplan A. et al. (1995). A special case of the very old: Lifelong learners. Educational Gerontology 21 345-355.
35. Owen T. R. (2002). Self-directed Learning in Adulthood: A Literature Review. Available at: http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED461050.
36. Patton M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd Ed.). Newbury Park CA: Sage.
37. Pfahl N. L. (2011) Using Narrative Inquiry and Analysis of Life Stories to Advance Elder Learning. In G. Boulton-Lewis & M. Tam (Eds.). Active aging active learning: issues and challenges. (pp.67-87). New York NY: Springer.
38. Roberson D. N. (2004). The nature of self-directed learning in older rural adults. Ageing International 29(2) 199-218.
39. Roberson D.N. (2005). The Potential of Self-Directed Learning. Activities Adaptation & Aging 29:3 1-20.
40. Schmidt-Hertha B. (2013). Informal learning of older adults: Motives and opportunities in everyday life. Proceedings of 4th International ESREA Conference. (pp. 77-88). Learning Opportunities for older adults: forms providers and policies. Vilnius: Mykolo Romerio Universitetas.
41. Schugurensky D. (2000). The forms of informal learning: towards a conceptualization of the field. WALL Working Paper 19. Available at: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/2733/2/19formsofinformal.pdf.
42. Scott K. W. (2004). Congruous autonomy: the ‘pull’ of personal commitment to extraordinary involvement in a pursuit. MPAEA Journal of Adult Education 33(1) 7-18.
43. Spear G. E. & Mocker D. W. (1984). The Organizing Circumstance: Environmental Determinants in Self-directed Learning. Adult Education Quarterly 35(1) 1-10.
44. Tam M. & Chui E. (2016). Ageing and learning: What do they mean to elders themselves? Studies in Continuing Education 38:2.
45. Tam M. (2013). A Model of Active Ageing Through Elder Learning: The Elder Academy Network in Hong Kong. Educational Gerontology 39 250–258.
46. Taylor K. & Lamaroux A. (2008). Teaching with the brain in mind. In S. B. Merriam (Ed.) Third update on adult learning theory. (pp. 49–59). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
47. Tusting K. & Barton D. (2006). Models of adult learning. Leicester UK: National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education (NIACE).
48. Valente J. S. (2005). The Role of Self-Directed Learning in Older Adults’ Health Care. UNpublished doctoral dissertation. Athens: University of Georgia.
49. Villar F. (2012). Successful ageing and development: the contribution of generativity in older age. Ageing and Society 32 1087-1105.
50. Withnall A. (2006). Exploring influences on later life learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education 25(1) 29-49.
51. Withnall A. (2010). Improving learning in later life. New York: Routledge.