Inclusion in education later in life: Why older adults engage in education activities


  • Cecilia Bjursell Jönköping University, Sweden



Health and wellbeing, learning late in life, motivation and inclusion, older adults’ learning


The connection between education and wellbeing is presented as a general argument for the participation of older adults in education, but is this reason why older adults themselves choose to engage in education activities? This paper combines the results from two previous empirical studies and addresses how older adults account for their participation in education activities. The first empirical data set comprises a survey completed by 232 Swedish pensioners. The second empirical data set comprises stories by 53 Swedish pensioners about their participation at Senior University. The same dominant arguments for their participation in education emerged in both studies; namely (i) staying active and (ii) socialising. However, this observation can be understood in terms of motives and benefits, something which indicates a possible fusion of extrinsic- and intrinsic motivation. A closer reading of the narratives reveals that many participants enrolled in Senior University because other family members, friends, and former work-colleagues had enrolled. This suggests that what on the surface may appear as an individual’s choice could, in fact, be explained by social factors.


Metrics Loading ...




How to Cite

Bjursell, C. (2019). Inclusion in education later in life: Why older adults engage in education activities. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 10(3), 215–230.