Participation of older people in learning studies

A scoping review


  • Jenni Koski University of Eastern Finland
  • Kaisa Pihlainen University of Eastern Finland



older people, learning, participation, scoping review


The participation and meaningful engagement of older people are strongly supported because of their individual and communal benefits. Currently there is a lack of general understanding of how older people participate in research activities. The purpose of this review was to examine the ways older people participate in learning studies. A search of abstracts of empirical studies published in English was conducted in three databases between 2015 and 2019 using scoping review methodology. The results showed that most
often older people did participate as study subjects in clinical studies. Other participant roles included informants, partners, and multiple roles. The review addressed a paucity in qualitative and participatory roles in older people’s learning studies. All participant
roles are still needed to provide various standpoints for learning studies. Further studies are suggested to provide various meaningful and participatory ways for older people to get involved in research activities.


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Author Biographies

Jenni Koski, University of Eastern Finland

Jenni Koski (M.Ed.) works as a project researcher at Faculty of Education and Psychology, University of Jyväskylä. She is a doctoral researcher at Educational University of Eastern Finland. She has worked with research projects during and after her Master’s Degree, topics, which include learning and support of older people and children with autism spectrum disorder.

Kaisa Pihlainen, University of Eastern Finland

Kaisa Pihlainen (PhD) works as a post-doctoral researcher (tenure track) at the Philosophical Faculty, University of Eastern Finland. She has participated in many national and international development and research projects concerning technology use and participatory design in various contexts (early childhood education, comprehensive school, after-school activities, older adults). Currently her research topics focus on lifelong learning, participation, appropriation and use of digital technology across the life span. 


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How to Cite

Koski, J., & Pihlainen, K. . (2022). Participation of older people in learning studies: A scoping review. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 13(3), 285–299.



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