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Intergenerational learning – learning together on an equal footing

05/10/2017
- EPALE Österreich
Sprog: EN
Document available also in: DE IT SL FR

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Generationen in Partnerschaft

 

The proportion of older people in our society is rising as a result of increasing life expectancy. Education has a broad-spectrum effect on the quality of life in old age. This opens up new opportunities for adult education but also presents it with new challenges.

Austrian gerontology researcher Anton Amann believes that education has a broad-spectrum effect on the quality of life in old age. Learning and education are more than just entertainment or a pastime for elderly people – participation in adult education by older people is said to promote mental and physical well-being, social integration and social participation. According to Amann, it reinforces a positive image of old age, improves the way old people anticipate and deal with critical life events and also has a positive impact on civic involvement. Education expert Dagmar Heidecker states that learning is necessary to help you find your way in the world and shape it. Non-participation can quickly lead to social exclusion, for example if you are unable to use a mobile phone or the internet.

Demographic change is changing the face of adult education

Demographic change is a key challenge in the EU Member States. According to Statistics Austria (Statistik Austria), if the present trend continues, the population of Austria will pass the nine million mark for the first time in 2030 meaning that it will have grown at a much faster rate than previously assumed. Increasing life expectancy means that, by as soon as 2020, there will be more people over the age of 65 than there will be under 20.

The associated increase in ‘active’ senior citizens is also likely to have an impact on the content and scope of adult education provision for this target group, as well as the methods used. This is creating new opportunities but also new challenges.

The Lifelong Learning Strategy in Austria (LLL:2020 Strategie) sets out targeted measures for the post-retirement phase; these include increasing participation in adult education, information and advice, low-threshold local education provision, and intergenerational projects and courses in ICT in particular. The intergenerational learning approach, as is currently being implemented in multigenerational houses across the EU, can help build a bridge between the different generations.

Why is there a need for intergenerational learning?

Intergenerational learning reduces the isolation of young and old people, which did not exist to the same extent when extended families lived in the same household. As the different generations get to know each other, this helps to break down stereotypes and mutual prejudices. It means that new problem-solving models can be developed and adopted together, and promoted innovation. This all helps to maintain social capital in ageing societies.

Communication is essential to be able to learn from one another – this means getting to know, understand and mutually accept each other. Opportunities need to be created for different generations to meet and talk in formal and informal settings. Interaction between different generations should not be a source of conflict but rather an opportunity for greater cohesion and the promotion of mutual learning and solidarity. And organisations are already starting to take advantage of the added benefit of age diversity because they have recognised that mixed-age teams and other mutual learning models can lead to increased productivity. This requires increased awareness and improvement of age-appropriate working conditions but also the initiation of a broad range of low-threshold education provision and projects.

Points for Action in Graz

The Graz project ‘Points for Action’ is an example of this type of low-threshold approach. In this project the city of Graz, together with the Austrian service institution for young people Logo Jugendmanagement and the Caritas Jugendliche charitable organisation, is providing the stimulus for intergenerational interaction combined with recreational activities. The project enables youngsters to have contact with elderly people, allowing them to contribute their time and skills to society, gain positive benefits from this for their own lives, and receive credits for leisure activities in return. Young people have numerous and varied skills that they can contribute. In addition to the services to the community, the positive effects include giving meaning to their lives, reinforcing their own capabilities and giving them self-confidence. It is important here that the needs of old people are taken seriously and that their contact with talented young people is structured around these needs.

Additional information:



Text/Author of original article in German: Christine Bärnthaler /CONEDU

Redaktion/Editing of original article in German: Karin Kulmer /CONEDU


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  • IRIPS Corses billede

    Le vieillissement de la population, la difficulté d’obtenir un premier emploi et le taux record de chômage des jeunes représentent des sujets de préoccupations majeurs pour les États membres de l’Union européenne, que ce soit d’un point de vue social ou économique.

    Dans ce contexte, le projet Erasmus+ partenariats stratégiques pour l’éducation des adultes "VASIE" -Vieillissement Actif et Solidarité Intergénérationnelle en Europe-  avait pour objectifs de (i) favoriser le rôle actif des seniors dans la société leur permettant ainsi de maintenir un bien-être physique, mental et social ; (ii) permettre une coopération et des échanges entre jeunes et aînés favorisant le développement, l’acquisition et la valorisation de compétences transférables en situation professionnelle ou dans le monde associatif.

    Ainsi, 7 organismes œuvrant dans le domaine de la formation, de l'animation, de l'orientation et du conseil, issus de 7 pays européens, ont collaboré pendant 2 ans (2015 -2017) afin de développer un dispositif d’apprentissage et d’échanges pouvant être utilisé partout en Europe par des organismes travaillant avec ces publics dans le cadre du développement des compétences sociales.

    Pour ce faire, les partenaires ont d’abord mené une recherche sur les besoins des publics cibles. Cette recherche a abouti sur la production du cahier des charges du dispositif d’apprentissage. Sur cette base, les partenaires ont ensuite développé, avec l’aide des jeunes et des seniors, des contenus.  La modélisation et l’expérimentation du dispositif d’apprentissage a porté sur 3 groupes de compétences : (i) adaptation à l’environnement ; (ii) communication &Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication ; (iii) réassurance. Le dispositif d’apprentissage a pris la forme de 3 Sessions Intergénérationnelles Collectives (SIC).

     

    Au total 519 jeunes et seniors, répartis sur 7 pays européens, ont testé et évalué le dispositif d’apprentissage VASIE. Une fois le dispositif validé, les partenaires ont finalisé le kit pédagogique VASIE constitué d’un guide de prise en mains, d’un guide du formateur, de questionnaires d’évaluation, d’un livret de compétences sociales traitées et d’une attestation de présence.

    Le kit VASIE est téléchargeable gratuitement sur le site Internet du projet dans les 6 langues du partenariat et en anglais (http://vasie.eu/fr/). Une communauté virtuelle des utilisateurs a été créée et permet à chacun de partager son expérience VASIE (https://www.facebook.com/Active-Ageing-and-Intergenerational-Solidarity-in-EuropeVASIE-Project-1608834419445507/).  

  • Elena Galifianakis billede

    EPALE's two-day online discussion (23-24 October) on intergenerational learning has started! Join moderator Graciela Sbertoli (EBSN Secretary General) and share your views online!

    http://bit.ly/2l8xz6T

    Feel free to follow the discussion on Twitter using #epale2017.

  • Elena Galifianakis billede

    EPALE's two-day online discussion (23-24 October) on intergenerational learning has started! Join moderator Graciela Sbertoli (EBSN Secretary General) and share your views online!

    http://bit.ly/2l8xz6T

    Feel free to follow the discussion on Twitter using #epale2017.

  • Elena Galifianakis billede

    EPALE's two-day online discussion (23-24 October) on intergenerational learning has started! Join moderator Graciela Sbertoli (EBSN Secretary General) and share your views online!

    http://bit.ly/2l8xz6T

    Feel free to follow the discussion on Twitter using #epale2017.