Consistently low participation in higher education programs by older adults suggests the need for theory-derived research efforts to uncover barriers to educational activity in later life. In the present paper it is argued that an understanding of adulthood educational participation be developed according to a criterion of environmental and situationally dependent factors rather than solely to one of inexorable and cross- situational biophysical decline. Specific environmental and organismic factors that may relate to chronically low rates of educational participation by older learners are pinpointed and described and suggestions are made for examining and rearranging the ecological context of life-span education in order to stimulate greater educational involvement in the later years. Changes in cross-age attitudes and behaviors that may result from an influx of older adult learners into college and university classrooms are also considered in light of recent research evidence on intergenerational contact.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology