Metacognition in Educational Theory and Practice

By Douglas J. Hacker; John Dunlosky et al. | Go to book overview

11
Training Programs to Improve Learning in Later Adulthood: Helping Older Adults Educate Themselves

John Dunlosky University of North Carolina at Greensboro Christopher Hertzog Georgia Institute of Technology

The number of adults over the age of 65 will continue to increase over the next few decades, with some estimates indicating that one fifth of the U.S. population will be 65 or older by the year 2030. This represents a considerable increase from one eighth in 1990 ( Roush, 1996)! Considering that the number of older adults seeking advanced education has been steadily increasing over the past decade, these demographics indicate that this trend is likely to continue far into the future. Educating and retraining older adults may provide a special challenge given the difficulties many will face relative to their younger peers. Older adults often require more time to learn new materials required in educational settings, such as the content of expository texts and even simple associations like foreign-language vocabulary or people's names and faces (for recent reviews, see chaps. 6, 7, 8, 12, & 15 in Blanchard-Fields & Hess, 1996). Older adults are also likely to have less confidence in their ability to learn new materials, a decrease in memory self-efficacy that may stop many adults from pursuing further education.

Given age-related declines in memory and in memory self-efficacy, a growing number of researchers have explored how older adults can be trained to improve their learning (for a variety of perspectives on adult life-span learning, see Sinnott, 1994). Much has been learned about the

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