Participation Motives and Learning Outcomes Among Older Learners

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Educational Gerontology


Although older students are participating in formal educational programs at increasingly higher rates, few studies have examined learning outcomes or the relationship between motivational factors for participation and outcomes. This research project surveyed 560 older students attending Elderhostel programs. The purpose of the study was to examine self‐reported learning outcomes and study the predictive relationships between reasons for participation and outcomes. Students reported moderate levels of growth on two outcomes factors: humanities/critical thinking and human relations/personal development. Multiple regression analysis revealed that the best predictors of learning outcomes among older participants in Elderhostel programs were setting clear goals for learning and the specific nature of the courses and institutions attended.