Creating a Programme in Intergenerational Learning in Higher Education as a Contribution to public understanding of the benefits of intergenerational engagement in Europe and around the globe
Intergenerational Learning in Higher Education is currently not sufficiently promoted. Demographic patterns demonstrate the increased numbers of our ageing populations across Europe and around the world. There are many older people who continue to contribute in a meaningful way to society. This is in terms of sharing their life experiences knowledge, wisdom and skills. This knowledge has the potential to be shared with younger people in a variety of educational contexts. In 2008, an Intergenerational Learning Programme was developed in Dublin City University (DCU) with the intention of engaging staff, students and older people from the wider community in teaching, learning and research opportunities together on campus. This space was developed as both a formal and informal teaching and learning space using the Lave & Wenger (1991) Model of Communities of Practice.
In analysing the outcomes of this innovative study using conversation analysis, Blogs and surveys the research findings demonstrated that there were reciprocal benefits for the students, staff and older people who participated in the programme. Social learning, Transformational Learning and Communities of Practice are three of the key theories which informed the study. This paper will highlight the benefits of this Intergenerational Learning Programme. It will conclude with recommendations for it to be replicated in other higher education institutes for the greater good of society.