Online language learning in the third-age: concrete recommendations to improve seniors’ learning experiences

Mara van der Ploeg*, Brittany Blankinship

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Online activities have spiked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including language learning activities. As the world is aging, this affects senior citizens too. Yet, few studies have been conducted studying online (language) learning in this age-group. Moreover, no concrete pointers exist on how to go about such an online language learning course. This paper examines what should be considered when designing and implementing online language learning courses for seniors. To that end we present data from 73 senior language learners from two independent language learning contexts: the Netherlands and Scotland. The data were collected between May 2020 and August 2021. Data includes spoken and written samples from lessons, focus groups, interviews and questionnaires. Given the qualitative nature of the data and the aim of identifying patterns of meaning across the respective datasets, a reflexive thematic analysis (TA) approach was adopted. We employed an inductive approach to coding, using both semantic (explicit or overt) and latent (implicit, underlying) coding frameworks, in order to inform two overarching themes: “Navigating the digital highway” and “Camera ready for new friends.” We discuss these themes and their sub-themes and arrive at concrete recommendations for the third-age language learning classroom.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerontology & Geriatrics Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9-Nov-2022

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