An exploration of later life learning in a self-determining community of practice

  • Adams, Martha Louise (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)

Project: HDR ProjectMasters by Research

Project Details


This study offers original research and aims to provide new knowledge to the discipline of adult education. This qualitative study will use an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis design to explore experiences of later life learning within the context of a self-determined tarot community of practice. Rich, descriptive data will be gathered using open and semi-structured interview methods from a small number of purposefully chosen study participants, from this community, who fulfil the age-demographic requirement. Data will be transcribed, coded and analysed thematically.
I am a member of the ageing baby-boomer demographic (1946-1964) which, according to authorities such as The World Health Organisation and United Nations Population Fund, represents an unprecedented event in human history. A global concern is that a significant socio-economic burden will emerge in developing and developed countries, including Australia, as the baby-boomer generation leave paid employment. Governments of these countries have been encouraged to develop policies and interventions for ‘reskilling and re-educating’ their ageing populations to maintain workforce capacity. Literature explains the ageing baby-boomers possess distinctive characteristics and aspirations that are unlike those of previous generations. While continued learning is desirable, teacher-led, pedagogical and andragogical frameworks and classroom-based instruction have met with resistance.
A heutagogy learning approach emphasises making sense of lived experience and learner-led practices. Self-determining communities of practice may better provide opportunities to satisfy later life learners needs for continued learning with opportunities for multi-dimensional meaning-making, self-reflective activities, and social engagement. By introducing social, shared, flexible, experiential, and exploratory learning practices, heutagogy allows for new knowledge to emerge. A democratic educational framework is suggested through collaborative practice and one that can support socially meaningful intergenerational learning. Developing the capacity for applying knowledge, skill and practice to multiple contexts, may provide social and productivity benefits to the knowledge economy.
I participate in a self-determining community of tarot practice, am a professional member and have a Diploma in Tarot from the United Kingdom. I run independent workshops at community centres, deliver adult classes for organisations (Workers Education Association, S.A.) and provide personal tutoring. As a committee member of the Tarot Guild of Australia (TGA), I held voluntary roles as vice president, professional practice transition coordinator and mentor, editor of, and content writer for, the TGA national magazine, was the Adelaide workshops convener, and a presenter-speaker at TGA’s international tarot conferences.
StatusNot started


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