The Ageing Brain: Neuroplasticity and Lifelong Learning

The role of adult education is becoming increasingly important in the framework of policies to promote lifelong learning. Adult participation in training activities, however, is still rather low, despite the incentives and initiatives aimed at allowing all citizens access to education and training at all ages in their lives.
Participation tends to decrease concomitantly with increasing age: the major difficulty that elderly people have in learning is due to a deterioration of brain function, causing a progressive weakening of concentration, memory and mental flexibility. Today, advanced researches in neuroscience show that brain ageing may be reversible: the brain is plastic in all stages of life, and its maps can restructure themselves through learning experiences.

The application of neuroscience theories about brain plasticity to adult education is essential to promote lifelong learning through the creation of learning environments based on competences, situated learning and active construction of knowledge.

Read the complete article in eLearning Papers, n. 29, 2012.