The Quest for Community in Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes
An open-ended online survey designed to explore issues related to learning communities was administered to directors of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Programs across the United States. Sixty-five directors responded to this survey. Findings included a description of a learning community, which is constituted by learners having common goals, a sense of ownership, sustained relationships, holistic engagement, and meaningful peer interactions. Any successful strategy to build community rests on the foundation of committed volunteers and a responsive host institution. In addition to these, directors nurture their learning communities through a variety of strategies that include special interest groups, educational travel, sponsoring socially-focused activities, and consistent communication. Implications for international lifelong learning programs and the future of learning communities in the face of increased online and other distance education modalities are explored.
Brady, E.M., Cardale, A., & Neidy, J.C. (2013). The quest for community in Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes. Educational Gerontology, 39(9), 627-639. doi:10.1080/03601277.2012.734147