An aspect of life long learning that is getting some traction especially in Europe, that of intergenerational learning. Based on demographics and possibly shored up by the winds of change from the eastern part of the continent. Intergenerational learning seems to be really taking hold there. Various groups such as the European Map of Intergenerational Learning, “EMIL” are promoting intergenerational projects across Europe. This group is not alone in promoting intergenerational and lifelong learning across Europe coming off the European Year for Active Learning, 2012.
Although there are signs of this happening in North America, it doesn’t have the broad scope of the European initiatives. Education and learning needs the broader context of lifelong and intergenerational learning in an age that is marked by social and technological change.
Parents have been engaged in intergenerational learning strategies from time immemorial and for much of that time, members of the extended family have shared in that. Although the term may be of recent coinage, the reality of intergenerational learning is obviously not an invention of some education theorist.
While to some extent it might have gone out of fashion, if it worked in the threshing room, on the hunting grounds or with the spinning wheel then it is still a valid source of learning.