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A study of the co-operative learning model used by the University of the Third Age in the United Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date10/2011
JournalInternational Journal of Education and Ageing
Journal number1
Volume2
Number of pages12
Pages55-66
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Since its inception in the UK in the early 1980s, the University of the Third Age (U3A) has used a co-operative learning model in which members are described as both teachers and learners. This study examined the learning model as experienced by some members of the U3A in Northbridge (a pseudonym) and aimed to study some of the variation in members' experience of it. Phenomenographic analysis of the interview transcripts showed a variety of experience from that of a didatic relationship between teacher and learners to full participation by all members of a group in planning of their learning programme and in leading individual sessions. U3A members reported finding value in aspects of each of the four conceptions of co-operative learning identified by the phenomenographic analysis. The social and supportive nature of the U3A was found to be significant for the reported overall success of this application of a co-operative learning model.