Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Position Papers; Lifelong Learning; Teaching Styles; Feedback; Student Interests; Congruence (Psychology); Relevance (Education); Study Habits; State Standards; Academic Standards; Teacher Effectiveness; Academic Achievement; Student Evaluation.

Hill, E. T. (2001). Post-school-age training among women: Training methods and labor market outcomes at older ages. Economics of Education Review, 20(2), 181-190.
Uses the NLS Mature Women's Cohort to examine Labor Market effects of education and training at preretirement age. Younger, more educated women tend to train more than older women. On-the-job training is more strongly associated with wage growth than is formal education.
KEY WORDS: Education Work Relationship; Elementary Secondary Education; Females; Higher Education; Labor Force; Middle Aged Adults; Participation; Salary Wage Differentials; Training; National Longitudinal Survey Mature Women.

Hoerder, D. (2001). Reconstructing life courses: A historical perspective on migrant experiences. In V. Marshall, W. Heinz, H. Kruger & A. Verma (Eds.), Restructuring work and the life course (pp. 525-539). Toronto: University Press.


The connection between linearity, sequence normality, and the concept of work as only paid work results in a weak life-course analysis. This is clear when the lives of two Polish immigrant families living in Canada are looked at. These families, which became linked by marriage, depended on many different avenues to achieve integration & economic survival. The families were willing to relocate to find work, diversify to enlarge their income, obtain new skills, & develop coping strategies in their efforts to make a living. The case study also demonstrates that human capital (identity-formation, training, education) & social capital (job availability & community support) influence the options available to individuals & families. In addition, it is evident that individual decisions are constrained by political processes, economic cycles, societal factors, & luck.
KEY WORDS: Canada; Immigrants; Human Capital; Socioeconomic Factors; Labor Force Participation; Cultural Capital; Slavic Cultural Groups.

Linn, P. L., Ferguson, J., & Egart, K. (2004). Career exploration via cooperative education and lifespan occupational choice. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 65(3), 430-447.


Career exploration by Antioch College students who graduated between 1946 and 1955 (N=73) was studied to determine relationships between the occupational categories of cooperative education jobs taken in college (obtained from a campus archive) and subsequent work histories (obtained from surveying the graduates at about 70 years). Five hypotheses were tested. Results supported four of the hypotheses, with partial support for the fifth. Co-op jobs taken by the sample represented each of 23 occupational classifications, and most graduates took post-graduate jobs in occupational functions and contexts they had explored as co-op students. High levels of individuality in use of the co-op program and in career paths were found. Four co-op-to-career patterns were described, based on the degree to which functions and contexts were explored during college and career; a case study was included to exemplify each pattern. Gender differences were revealed in the patterns, but not the group data. Job context was particularly important in defining these patterns. Implications for research and practice were discussed tentatively, however given the lack of a control group, characteristics of the study sample, and particularities of the historical era studied, the ability to generalize beyond the study sample is limited.
KEY WORDS: Career Exploration; Cooperative Education; Career Choice; College Graduates; Hypothesis Testing; Gender Differences; Lifelong Learning; Career Education; Work Environment; Gender Differences.

Lutfey, K., & Mortimer, J. T. (2003). Development and socialization through the adult life course. In J. DeLamater (Ed.), Handbook of Social Psychology (pp. 183-204). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.


In this chapter, the authors consider varied definitions of socialization, how the concept is tied to fundamental sociological issues, and how its original conceptualizations provided a framework for later investigations. Specifically, the authors focus on socialization through the adult life course, with emphasis on heterogeneity and contingency in life experiences. To develop a theoretical and methodological perspective that is sensitive to temporality, the authors call attention to individuals' biographies and temporal orientations, as well as historical variability in the ways people adapt to new social roles and circumstances. While the authors touch on themes deriving from early work on childhood and adolescent socialization, the primary focus is on adult socialization, or that which occurs after the completion of general education, whether secondary school or college.
KEY WORDS: Adult Development; Life Experiences; Psychosocial Development; Socialization.

Marshall, V. W., & Mueller, M. M. (2002). Rethinking social policy for an aging workforce and society: Insights from the life course perspective. Ontario: Canadian Policy Research Networks.


Canadian population trends were examined from a life course perspective to identify needed social policy changes. First, the following principles underpinning the life course perspective were discussed: (1) aging involves biological, psychological, and social processes; (2) human development and aging are lifelong processes; (3) individuals' and cohorts' life courses are embedded in and shaped by historical time and place; (4) the antecedents and consequences of life transitions and events vary according to their timing in a person's life; (5) lives are lived interdependently; and (6) individuals construct their own life courses through the choices and actions they take within the opportunities and constraints of history and social circumstances. Next, the following policy domains were analyzed from the life course perspective: (1) education, the transition to employment, and lifelong learning; (2) family and the relationship between work and family; (3) work-to-retirement transitions; (4) income security in the later years; and (5) intergenerational relations and social cohesion. It was recommended that Canadian policymakers responsible for public, corporate, union, and educational policy focus on the increasing inequality that develops over the life course, avoid the error of assuming a model life course, and move toward consideration of need rather than age.
KEY WORDS: Adult Day Care; Age Differences; Age Groups; Aging (Individuals); Career Development; Child Care; Definitions; Educational Policy; Employment Practices; Family Caregivers; Family-Work Relationship; Foreign Countries; Geriatrics; Income; Individual Development; Labor Force Development; Life Events; Literature Reviews; Older Adults; Policy Formation; Population Trends; Position Papers; Research Design; Retirement; Retirement Benefits; Social Change; Social Environment; Social Science Research; Theory Practice Relationship; Canada; Income Security; Life Course; Life Span Development; Population Aging; Social Policy.

McAndrew, P., Clow, D., Taylor, J., & Aczel, J. (2004). The evolutionary design of a knowledge network to support knowledge management and sharing for lifelong learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 35(6), 739-746.


Knowledge Management (KM) and knowledge sharing are important factors that support lifelong learning, and enable people to continue developing throughout their careers. The concept of a Community of Practice (Wenger, 2000) is attractive in drawing together people whose work shares similar aspects, and consideration is given here to how technology can be used to develop and support such a community. In this paper, concepts from the Community of Practice literature are used to consider the development of a software environment for people working as a community in the area of lifelong learning. The intention was to design the system in an evolutionary way, using a minimal set of essential elements which would be elaborated according to user feedback. Three key design questions are considered: Who can contribute resources to such a system? What happens to existing practices? How is the community engaged? We conclude that, in lifelong learning, knowledge management supported by a software environment offers a good way to bring together communities, resources and experience, but to achieve these benefits, great care needs to be exerted in introducing the system and maintaining existing work practices.
KEY WORDS: Educational Technology; Computer Software; Lifelong Learning; Systems Development; Information Management.

Peres, M. A. d. C. (2006). Andragogy on the threshold of the relationship between old age, work and education. Contrapontos, 6(1), 65-77.


This paper analyzes the nature of the current educational model, considering its importance in the training of a qualified & disciplined workforce. The paper considers andragogy and informal education as alternative forms of education, which are wider and more universal and which can be understood as spaces of resistance to the capitalist logic.
KEY WORDS: Elderly; Education Work Relationship; Social Closure; Resistance; Capitalism; Education; Old age.

Pillay, H., Boulton-Lewis, G., Wilss, L., & Lankshear, C. (2003). Conceptions of work and learning at work: Impressions from older workers. Studies in Continuing Education, 25(1), 95-111.


Interviews with 39 workers over 40 addressed their conceptions of work (job, challenging experience, personal empowerment, life-structuring device) and of learning at work (acquiring survival skills, observing/experiencing, taking courses, learning lifelong, and changing personally). Their conceptions were mostly incongruent with their levels in the Australian Qualifications Framework.
KEY WORDS: Credentials; Educational Attitudes; Foreign Countries; Middle Aged Adults; Work Attitudes.

Pitawanakwat, J. (2001). Informal learning culture through the life course: Initiatives in Native organizations and communities. NALL Working Paper No. 40. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at: www.nall.ca.


Traditional Ojibway education is currently being delivered by eight First Nations communities on Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron, in Ontario. Integration into the formal school system, with the exception of language programs, is not formally established. Elders and traditional teachers are only invited by individual teachers. Integration of the formal education system into the traditional Ojibway system also takes place, through field trips, albeit to a limited extent. Cultural knowledge is transmitted via one-to-one transmission, home-based learning, talking circles, community cultural events, workshops and conferences, and traditional Ojibway institution-based learning. Traditional educational approaches are profoundly different from those of the mainstream educational system. Wholistic (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional) growth and development of the person, experiential learning, oral tradition, and student-centeredness are key elements of the traditional approach. Further, and of vital importance, is the fact that education is grounded in spirituality. Western mainstream education has a narrower scope in that it emphasizes intellectual development to the exclusion of other dimensions. There are a number of concerns related to integrating informal Native education into the formal education system. These include research methodologies utilized; protection of cultural and intellectual property rights; and recognition of traditional indigenous knowledge, traditional teachers, and elders.
KEY WORDS: American Indian Education; Canada Natives; Chippewa (Tribe); Cultural Education; Cultural Maintenance; Educational Practices; Foreign Countries; Holistic Approach; Intellectual Property; Lifelong Learning; Nonformal Education; Tribally Controlled Education; Odawa (Tribe); Ontario; Potawatomi (Tribe).

Rae, D. (2005). Mid-career entrepreneurial learning. Education & Training, 47(8-9), 562-574.


Recent research on entrepreneurship education has emphasised school, college and university students, with less attention being paid to entrepreneurial learning among people in older age groups. However the ageing population of the UK and other developed countries means that there is a need for an increasing proportion of the existing working population, from a broad social and demographic background, to develop entrepreneurial skills in mid-career in order to find new opportunities for economic activity and to extend their working lives. This goal requires better understanding of the learning needs and processes of mid-career entrepreneurs MCEs between the ages of 35 and 55. This article aims to enhance the understanding of mid-career entrepreneurial learning by exploring how and why people develop entrepreneurial skills in mid-career, how these skills are deployed in working on opportunities, what types of learning are most effective, and conclusions for the design of MCE learning experiences. A research method was used with emergent MCEs participating in a postgraduate entrepreneurship module. This evaluated learning, skill acquisition and practice to inform both learner and educator. This paper explores the types of opportunities identified and the learning methods used. It proposes implications for mid-career learners based on a framework for entrepreneurial learning, in the context of the broader perspectives of mid-career and mid-life change and development. It develops a career stage model for entrepreneurship, and discusses the implications for the design of learning programmes for MCEs. MCEs have enhanced lifelong and work-based learning and experience compared with younger people, but display great variety in their aspirations, work and career experience, educational attainment, ethnic and national diversity, and participation in social networks. The article proposes ways o| f enhancing mid-career entrepreneurial learning. This paper makes a distinctive contribution to the understanding of entrepreneurial learning in a significant age group.
KEY WORDS: Entrepreneurship; Business Education; Skill Development; Adult Education; Learning Strategies; Lifelong Learning; Adults; Educational Opportunities; Foreign Countries; Career Development.

Roberson, J. D. N. (2005). Masters of adaptation: Learning in late life adjustments. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 61(4), 265-291.


The purpose of this research is to understand the relationship between human development in older adults and personal learning. Personal or self-directed learning (SDL) refers to a style of learning where the individual directs, controls, and evaluates what is learned. It may occur with formal classes, but most often takes place in non-formal situations. This study employed a descriptive qualitative design incorporating in-depth, semi-structured interviews for data collection. The sample of 10 purposefully selected older adults from a rural area reflected diversity in gender, race, education, and employment. Data analysis was guided by the constant comparative method. The primary late life adjustments of these older adults were in response to having extra time, changes in family, and social and physical loss. This research also indicated that late life adjustments are a primary incentive for self-directed learning. The results of this study indicated that older adults become masters of adaptation through the use of self-directed learning activities.
KEY WORDS: Comparative Analysis; Rural Areas; Older Adults; Individual Development; Independent Study; Learning Activities; Adjustment (to Environment); Independent Study; Coping.

Schaie, K. W., & Elder, G. H. (2005). Historical influences on lives and aging. New York: Springer.


This book focuses on the ways in which the life course of individuals is affected by the historical contexts in which they live. The editors, along with contributors, explore the following pivotal concerns: how historical changes, such as immigration, affect the life course; the impact of historical transitions within societies, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union; the linking mechanisms, such as how coming of age in wartime affected young people during World War II. One of the goals of this book is to help readers gain a better understanding of the immediate and long-range effects of historical events on lives and aging.
KEY WORDS: Life Cycle; Human Social Aspects; Life Change Events; Social Change Psychological Aspects; Emigration and Immigration; Developmental Psychology; Social Psychology; Aging.

Schuller, T., Brassett-Grundy, A., Green, A., Hammond, C., & Preston, J. (2002). Learning, continuity and change in adult life. Wider benefits of learning research report. London: Department for Education and Skills.


The relationship between learning and continuity and change in adult life was explored in a study involving 140 in-depth biographical interviews of adult learners in 3 different areas of England and case studies of 6 adult learners. The study methodology was based on a triangular conceptualization according to which personal identity, human capital, and social capital constitute the apices of a triangle encompassing 12 categories of benefits derived from learning. The study established that initial education has a variety of effects beyond the crucial effects on subsequent life changes and earnings that have been well documented elsewhere. Education was shown to provide structure to people's lives and the confidence, skills, and opportunity to access knowledge relevant to new situations. Family members' participation in learning benefitted the rest of their families in numerous ways. Little evidence of education directly improving physical health was found; however, participation in education promoted civic activity and development of social capital and social cohesion. Policymakers were advised to give greater recognition to the sustaining effect of education on personal lives and the social fabric and to the benefits of family learning programs and nonaccredited and local courses. Information about respondents' background characteristics and the interview topic guides are appended.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Lifelong Learning; Models; Nonformal Education; Participant Characteristics; Personal Narratives; Policy Formation; Public Policy; Research Methodology; Role of Education; Social Change; Social Integration.

Segrist, K. (2004). Attitudes of older adults toward a computer training program. Educational Gerontology, 30(7), 563-571.


Many older adults have an interest in learning to use computers. The study reported in this article examined whether older adults' attitudes toward computers can be influenced by direct, customized computer training. Thirty older participants who registered for introductory computer courses offered at a SeniorNet computer lab completed the Attitudes Toward Computers Questionnaire (ATCQ) before and after class participation. Attitudes were assessed on seven dimensions. There was borderline statistical significance for the "comfort" attitude dimension, which assesses the respondent's feeling of comfort with the computer and its use. No significant differences were found for the remaining six attitude dimensions. The results underscore the importance of the intervention design in eliciting attitude change. Based upon the findings of this research, several actions have taken place to increase comfort and efficacy and to control attitudinal dimensions, thereby providing more meaningful experiences for the participants.
KEY WORDS: Older Adults; Attitude Change; Computer Attitudes; Computer Literacy; Computers; Program Effectiveness; Training; Adult Education.

Segrist, K., Tell, B., Byrd, V., & Perkins, S. (2007). Addressing needs of employers, older workers, and retirees: An educational approach. Educational Gerontology, 33(5), 451-462.


This article describes a study, supported by the Retirement Research Foundation of Chicago, that collected demographic data about working and aging, conducted a survey of older job seekers, and interviewed businesses in the region to assess their awareness and attitudes about mature workers. Data was collected from: 13 focus groups; individual interviews with private, public and nonprofit sector leaders; surveying of mature and aging job seekers; and online surveying of employers.
KEY WORDS: Retirees; Older Workers; Adult Training; Skills; Work; Retirement; Gerontology.

Smith, C., & Reio, T. G., Jr. (2006). Adult development, schooling, and the transition to work. In P. Alexander & P. Winne (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 115-138). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.


Oriented around adult development from the post-high school and college years through midlife and into late adulthood, this chapter examines the historical connections of educational psychology to the study of adult development and outlines theoretical and empirical work that links educational psychology and adult education. The authors address the significant role of schooling across the adult life span in this chapter as well as examining investigations of how effectively the population of low-literate and illiterate adults develops reading, writing, and basic mathematics skills within the variety of adult basic education programs. While programs like these are frequently found in community colleges throughout the United States, others are located within local school districts, community-based organizations, libraries, public housing communities, and prisons. Literacy is assumed to contribute to adults' cognitive, social, and aesthetic development and is deemed to be essential for living in a rapidly changing, technological, information-rich society. Adult learning and development also takes place within, and is influenced by the activities of, the workplace.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Continuing Learning; Life Course; Lifelong Learning; Formal Training.

Sohnesen, T. P., & Blom, A. (2005). Is formal lifelong learning a profitable investment for all of life? How age, education level, and flexibility of provision affect rates of return to adult education in Colombia. Washington: DC: New Economics Paper.


Lifelong learning is a primary factor for knowledge diffusion and productivity growth in Colombia. With no long-term longitudinal data, the authors estimate rates of return for simulated re-entry into the education system; the findings suggest that adult formal education initiatives should focus on twenty through forty year olds and be designed flexibly to allow for part- time work.
KEY WORDS: Education; Adult; Colombia; Equity; Teaching and Learning; Gender; Primary Education; Tertiary Education.
Thomas, M., & Venne, R. A. (2002). Work and leisure: A question of balance. In Aging and Demographic Change in Canadian Context (pp. 190-222). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
An examination of the current state of knowledge about patterns of participation in work & leisure in Canada focuses on the balance between work & leisure during the life course. The many complex definitions of leisure, work, & time are explored. A review of the time use literature draws on John Robinson's & Geoffrey Godbey's, Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time (1997); Canada's General Social Surveys conducted by Statistics Canada in 1986 & 1992; & participation surveys related to leisure & work. The demographic implications of work over the life course are discussed in relation to Canada's aging population. Time use in Canada is compared to that in the US. A discussion of the policy implications indicates a need to strike a balance between the differing perspectives of shareholders, corporate CEOs, & un /underemployed individuals. Suggestions for possible workplace strategies & further research stress the need for multidimensional demographic analyses that address both demographic changes & shifting workplace realities.
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