ERIC Number: ED279784
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Oct-23
Reference Count: 0
Backwards and Forwards: An Approach to Understanding the Older Learner.
Wolf, Mary Alice
At each age learning is a complex interaction of motivation, cognition, and development. In older adults, motivation is often related to a lifelong personality construct or personal meaning that an older individual will seek to play out when given the opportunity in late life. The needs of the older adult learner can be discussed in terms of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which include physiological, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, self-actualization, knowledge and understanding, and aesthetic needs. A review of the theories of various developmentalists suggests that because older adults often have the opportunity to play out the repressed sides of their personalities for the first time and need to relive past experiences, pass their legacy to future generations, and find meaning in their lives, they may be best equipped for reminiscent learning. Studies of intelligence have suggested that there are two areas of intelligence, crystallized and fluid. The indications are that older people continue to do well in, and perhaps even improve in, the former type, which involves verbal comprehension, syllogisms, and arithemtical reasoning. Thus, older adults may very well be best equipped to make sense of things than are the members of any other age group. (MN)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (Hollywood, FL, October 23, 1986).