When adult educators learn from their learners.

By Dr Dušana Findeisen, head of the Institute for Research and Development of education within Slovenian Third Age University.


19 January 2022


Learning is not just about gaining knowledge, skills or competencies. Significant learning is transformative argue the Timeless partners. Timeless Project has several outputs, one of them being the Know-How-Guide for adult educators. The project partners are dealing with assets of intangible cultural heritage suggested collectively by their learners in their partners’ countries. These are stories and documents about oral expressions and traditions, social practices, performance arts, cultural identities, etc. There are so many manifestations of cultural heritage that they are classified with difficulty.


Adult educators working with older learners will be using the Course for Educators and the Know-How-Guide supporting the delivery of the course divided into six modules.


The Know-How-Guide will assist adult educators in delivering the Course, particularly as it concerns the issues of:


  • Recruiting older learners
  • Selecting intangible cultural items jointly with older learners
  • Collecting knowledge and learning resources
  • Creating stories/narratives
  • Digitalizing the learning: Story Maps and Kahoot
  • Evaluation


More importantly, the Know-How-Guide is devoted to connecting the ‘Hidden Culture’ items with the process of learning foreign languages.


Searching for intangible cultural heritage while learning English


The Know-How-Guide deals with several topics, selecting intangible cultural items jointly with older learners being just one of them. Most probably, older learners will provide the most diverse suggestions. Some suggestions will be convergent or overlapping. Such suggestions can become an item of intangible cultural heritage if the community of learners attributes them to shared social value. Or, to put it differently, if the community of learners recognizes its value for society and the preservation of its identity. The traditional approaches to learning based on an imposed syllabus and learning methods may be useful in formal education, but not in non-formal education which has to be flexible and as close to adults’ life as possible. This is particularly true with older learners.