Videoconferencing as a tool for later life learning

Kevin Connaughton, National Resource Center for Osher Institutes, United States, Irwin Kuzmarov, McGill Community for Lifelong Learning, Canada, Frank Nicholson, Ontario Later-Life Learning Videoconferencing Working Group, Canada, Maria Chester, International Association of Universities of the Third Age, United Kingdom, Harry Belsey, University of the Third Age Cambridge, United Kingdom, Linda Tu, Academy for Lifelong Learning, Canada.

Theme: Ageism

Format: Workshop


Submit an abstract today to the topic of Ageism, Age-friendly cities and communities, Primary health care, Long-term care and Older people and pandemics.


The purpose of this workshop is to update conference attendees on the uses that “later-life,” “third-age” or “lifelong” learning programs in Canada, Britain and the United States are making of Internet-based videoconferencing to help older adults maintain mental acuity.  The uses include:

  • Bringing out-of-town and foreign speakers into lecture halls
  • Livestreaming talks to members at multiple meeting venues
  • Enabling members to participate in sessions while travelling
  • Livestreaming talks to home-bound members/non-members
  • Mounting “virtual” study groups (everyone at their home computer)
  • Facilitating interactions with colleagues in other countries
  • Conducting seminars to reinforce learnings from massive open online courses (MOOCs)
  • Helping peer learners practice their presentations.
  • Providing computer-literacy instruction
  • Holding travel-free committee meetings

The recent technological and other changes that have made these advances possible will be explained. The workshop will open with a word of welcome from the International Association of Universities of the Third Age.  This will be followed by a presentation from the Osher Institute National Resource Center in Chicago on the results of its recent study of online learning offered by the 124 OLLIs in the United States.  

Presenters from Cambridge (UK), Montreal and Toronto will then describe current uses of technology by third-age learning organizations in Britain and Canada, including the twice-a-month tri-national discussions of world issues by videoconference.  Time will be reserved at the end of the session for discussion among the panelists and questions from the audience.

The participation of three of the presenters by videoconference rather than by being physically present in the meeting room will provide a dramatic demonstration of the possibilities of the technology.

Workshop participants wanting to learn more will be offered the opportunity to participate in “how-to” sessions (equipment, software, costs, etc.) held in the weeks following the conference.


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