THE NEGLECTED CAPACITY: A COMPARISON OF OLDER LEARNERS USING THE EDUCATIONAL/LEARNING LIFE REVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE
The participation of older adults in formal post-secondary education has doubled in the last ten years, though there is still widespread nonparticipation in formal educational programs by older adults in comparison to their numbers in the total population. Research has identified a number of personal characteristics profiling these older learners--descriptors such as age, level of income, prior level of education, physical and emotional health, marital status, etc., however research efforts to date have not touched on an "educational/learning life review" questionnaire. The Pearl River Senior Citizen Club (N = 60) and Fordham University's College At Sixty (N = 103) participants, responded to this questionnaire whose central hypothesis states that the critical variables of a lifespan reading habit, and the presence of a positive early familial learning attitude, and a positive response on the older persons and learning opinion scales are predicting factors between older entrants or non-entrants into the formal educational system. The College at Sixty sample was significantly younger, more affluent, physically and emotionally healthier and better educated than the Pearl River sample. There were inconsistent significant differences on the other descriptors. Multiple Regression techniques found no significant difference between the groups with respect to the early familial learning attitude, and lifespan reading attitude scales or the older persons and learning opinion scale. None of the attitude scales were predictive of older persons' participation or non-participation in formal education--the independent variable, which was measured as two distinct points (Level A, non-participation) and Level B, participation) along a continuous Adults Learning Projects Scale. The strongest predictor of late life participation in formal education was the descriptor, prior level of education. The resultant implications and recommendations concern the requirements for the development of theoretical, conceptual research paradigms as well as stringently focused descriptive analyses, a detailed learning style subdivision within the participant/non-participant framework, and the obligation for adult educators to provide varied, quality educational opportunities along an informal to formal learning continuum across late life age cohorts, as well as a unified national policy approach to late life education. The social work profession is reminded of its unique position as a liaison between older clients and appropriate educational opportunities.
Gerontology|Adult education|Continuing education
CHECHOTKA-MCQUADE, DORIS ANN VERONICA, "THE NEGLECTED CAPACITY: A COMPARISON OF OLDER LEARNERS USING THE EDUCATIONAL/LEARNING LIFE REVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8615680.