Atmosfera M (Oporto), 2014 November 7th and 8th


“Lifelong learning for all: inclusion, prosperity and sustainability in communities –

the Learning Cities Project”

Raúl Valdés-Cotera

The influence of cities in national and world affairs has increased considerably in recent years. This is partially due to the rapidly increasing trend of urbanization. In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lived in cities. As cities expand in size and population density, local governments are facing challenges associated with social inclusion, new technologies, the knowledge economy, cultural diversity and environmental sustainability.

Consequently, there is an urgent need to anticipate the learning needs of citizens in the world’s fast-growing urban communities. It has become pressing to find the solution to deal with these challenges which emerged in the ever complex and fast-changing world. In response, a growing number of cities are developing innovative strategies that allow their citizens – young and old – to learn new skills and competencies throughout life, thereby transforming their cities into ‘learning cities’.

The idea of learning throughout life is not new. It has always been an essential feature of human development and is deeply embedded in all cultures and civilisations. National governments have a major role in setting the agenda and developing the vision for lifelong learning systems. However, it is in the regions, cities and communities that the real work is taking place to make lifelong learning for all a reality. In fact, in more and more countries, local authorities are clearer that is at this municipal level rather than national where identities are build and where actions are taken. It is also at this level where much more capacity for innovation and implementation of policies could respond to social changes. This is why the potential of cities and urban regions to play a greater role in promoting social inclusion, economic growth, public safety and environmental protection is especially high.

Against this background, in 2012, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), as UNESCO’s centre of excellence for promoting lifelong learning for all, has initiated the preparation of establishing the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC). The network is an international exchange platform to share know-how and best practices in practising lifelong learning and developing learning cities, to enrich human potential to foster lifelong personal growth, promote equality and social justice, maintain social cohesion, and create sustainable prosperity.  

The GNLC project has been initiated in the recognition of the proliferation of learning cities as a noteworthy worldwide phenomenon and of cities as the major units where concrete actions in building learning societies are taking place.

A Learning City is a city that effectively mobilizes its resources in every sector to:

•         promote inclusive learning from basic to higher education;

•         re-vitalize learning in families and communities;

•         facilitate learning for and in the workplace;

•         extend the use of modern learning technologies;

•         enhance quality and excellence in learning; and

•         nurture a culture of learning throughout life.

In so doing, it will create and reinforce individual empowerment and social cohesion, economic and cultural prosperity, and sustainable development.

Preventing dementia by active and healthy ageing – research-based case studies

José Salgado, MD, Psychiatrist (Lisbon Psychiatric Hospital)

“Ageing is good because the alternative is dying young”. The increase of life expectancy brought new challenges to the society and naturally for medicine. We have more years to live, so we have to give more life to those years, as some authors say. On this talk I will discuss new approaches and data about the ways we can improve QoL as we are getting older. This is not an issue where consensus exists and where surely we still need to learn a lot more, but no doubt that the occupation of our time, in general, makes people healthier and, even if it does not prevent slow cognitive deterioration, at least it brings a sense of joy to live up to the point when we will be inexorably away from reality, due to cognitive deterioration. But the good news is that this does not happen to most people. I will present a Portuguese computer based program for treatment of aphasia (VITHEA) that is now being developed to allow for cognitive stimulation and diagnostic of patients with AD.


Anderson,P. “Ninety-Year-Olds Becoming Mentally Sharper, More Functional” Lancet. Published online July 11, 2013 ; Brooks, M. - Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2014 ; Jeffrey, S. “Exercise May Improve Cognition in Adults With Memory Impairment”- JAMA. 2008;300:1027-1037, 1077-1079 ; Livingston,G. et al. “Clinical Effectiveness of a Manual Based Coping Strategy Programme (START, STrAtegies for Relatives) in Promoting the Mental Health of Carers of Family Members With Demential”- BMJ, October 2013 ; Livingston,G. “Big Rewards in Caring for Dementia Caregivers” Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2014 ; Schneider,A.L.C. et al “Education and Cognitive Change Over 15 Years” J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012;60(10):1847-1853 ; Stetka,B.S.  “Can Alzheimer Disease Be Prevented?” Medscape Psychiatry, June 24, 2013; Stetka,B.& Small,G. “The Very Latest on Preventing Dementia” Medscape Neurology-July 2014 ;  Stokowski,L.A. “Cognitive Health for an Aging Population” - Medscape Public Health November 16, 2009 ;

Intercultural work with seniors.

(PhDr. Nadežda Hrapková, PhD.)

The culture of our society is a phenomenon that affects our daily lives and determines our manners. Each society has its own typical culture, which confirms its identity. Despite the globalization, which is now going on all over the world, each nation is seeking to preserve its identity and culture maintained for many generations. Due respect of ones own culture and sense of identity are a prerequisite for the intercultural work and for the understanding of the cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is not a problem. To the contrary, it adds richness and extra possibilities to the dialogue, the mutual enrichment and the ways for the co-operation. The great variety of cultures creates possibilities of finding new forms of work in various fields, also for the work with seniors.

What exactly is intercultural work?

In the past, opportunities to travel to other countries were not common, nor were intercultural work, or intercultural communication. Today we don’t find it strange to talk daily about meeting different nationalities, people from different countries and about the exchange of information in various forms. Many activities aimed at seniors and for the elderly also allow the realization of intercultural work. The use of different forms leads us to acquire new information, interchange them and transfer them between different cultures.


PhDr. Nadežda Hrapková, PhD.

Comenius University, Centre for continuino education

Odbojárov 10/a

820 05 Bratislava


Liberating older black/BME learners

Jacqueline McFarlane-Fraser

Older learners from black/ethnic minority communities tend to be portrayed in the era of migration and their experiences since then.  

Education  practitioners  provide learning opportunities which consider learner motivation (Houle, 1961)

Teaching strategies underpinned by community development principles  tend to  align to more than one of (Scrimshaw’s, 1983 ) five  educational ideologies. In particular,  progressivism  - to meet  individual’s needs and aspirations that will support (their) personal  growth  and strengthen a democratic society.  The relevance of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ( 1954) often considered (covertly) while achieving the learning objectives which will liberate older black learners who have been disproportionately affected by social exclusion.  

This example of a community project, located in a deprived area of London that provides community learning opportunities mainly though not exclusively, for black older learners.

By providing a consultative curriculum which ultimately liberates older black/ethnic minority learners while enabling healthy and active ageing.

Community Development Framework and values: Federation of Community Development, 2009.

Dewey, J (1966).Education ideology/Progressivism:  Democracy and Education

Houle,C O, (1961) The Inquiring Mind. University of Wisconsin Press.

Maslow, A.H (1970) Learning development/Motivation: Motivation and personality, New York, Harper & Row

Scrimshaw, P.(1983) Educational ideologies: Purpose and planning in the classroom, Milton Keynes, Open University Press.

Tyler, R. (1971) Basic Principles for Curriculum and Instruction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Senior Entrepreneurship, active ageing and local development

Nuno Abranja - ULHT * ISCE

Entrepreneurship is today considered the main force of the economic growth and development and a vehicle of innovation and change. The entrepreneur is looking for change and identifies an opportunity, not always seen by others. This is characterized as someone who creates something new, innovative, valued, transforms values and can live with the risks inherent in your business (Dornelas, 2001; Sarkar, 2007). Entrepreneurship has as big flag the possibility of creating stability and continuity to the region development and provides the appearance of genuinely national companies. According to Girão (2007), entrepreneurship is both an attitude resulting from innate personal characteristics and dominant culture in terms of creativity, innovation, risk, tolerance to failure and merit.

study, funded by Kauffman Fd. (Holly, 2014) that surveyed 500 successful high growth founders showed that the typical successful founder was 40 years old, with at least 6-10 years of industry experience. Twice as many successful entrepreneurs are more than 50 as under 25. Entrepreneurship starts out with potential entrepreneurs: those who may or may not actually venture into this activity, but who have the beliefs and abilities to do so. Measures include believing that one has the capabilities to start a business, seeing opportunities in one’s area and feeling undeterred by fear of failure when seeing opportunities.

It wasn’t that long ago that age signified wisdom. A study developed by Aileen Lee shows that so even the biggest hits, on average, have emerged from experience. The founders of LinkedIn, one of the most valuable companies in the world, averaged 36 and the founders of the Workday averaged 52 (Shane, 2000).

To really reach our entrepreneurial potential, we must create an environment that encourages experienced talent to recognize new business opportunities and spin out new ventures from their existing corporations when it makes sense. Following Holly (2014) “Older entrepreneurs can be role models for the next generation, who should first learn real technical and creative skills that are in short supply in the real world”. We have to remember that ideas are only ideas until execution. More experienced leaders tend to have deeper networks, experience managing teams, and better business savvy and skills for delivering on their vision (Holly, 2014).


Dornelas, J. (2001). Empreendedorismo: Transformando ideias em negócios. Rio de Janeiro: Campus.

Girão, J. (2007) What sort of education for entrepreneurship. In II Seminário SEDES Novas Oportunidades: Empreendedorismo em Portugal. Lisboa: ADES.

Holly, K. (2014). Why great entrepreneurs are older than you think. Available at

Sarkar, S. (2007). Empreendedorismo e inovação. Lisboa: Escolar.

Shane, S. (2000). Prior knowledge and the discovery of entrepreneurial opportunities. Organization Science, 11(4), 448-469.

EAEA conference on Older Learners, Conference Report, 2012

Susana Oliveira - EAEA

EAEA considers seniors as crucial participants in lifelong learning because their learning is more than gaining of knowledge: when older people are provided with learning opportunities, they are able to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, to actively participate in society and thus to combat negative stereotypes and social exclusion. For this reason and since many EAEA members are working with senior learners, EAEA is deeply committed to active ageing. The association promotes a strong political recognition of the importance of having a common vision on the participation of older people in adult learning and to increase funds for the seniors’ learning. Moreover, EAEA has been participating for many years in European projects which tackle some of the most important challenges of active ageing. As examples, we can state the PALADIN project, which intends to contribute to the empowerment of disadvantaged seniors; or the ENIL project, that aims at creating a Network in order to promote Intergenerational Learning (IGL); also, the ADD LIFE project, which had the purpose to develop university modules for senior citizens, providing an inter-generational learning setting. All these projects provided recommendations addressing specific topics, in which EAEA is working at the moment: active citizenship, quality of life, financing systems for older learners, intergenerational learning, outreach and technology.

In addition, and because EAEA believes in a “Learning Europe”, EAEA is also calling every citizen to be involved in our campaign asking for a European year of Adult Learning with the theme “The power of learning”. We believe that it is urgent to focus on learning to improve citizen’s lives and prospects in Europe, both on a personal and on a professional level. A European Year dedicated to Adult Learning and “The power of learning” is the perfect tool to underline this topic on a European level.


Mariana Matache

ASOCIATIA 'EUROED', Bucharest, Romania 

“The Citizen comes First” is an ongoing national project that started in 2005 and has as scope educating citizens to be actively involved in the life of the community. It has reached approximately 4000 adults of all ages from 40 localities, in particular from rural areas. The seniors citizens play a very semnificativ role. At least one local seminar is held in each locality. While all seminars have their own specificity, all of them inform the attending citizens about the tools for participatory democracy and citizens’ rights and obligations. The most important result is that a local initiative group is formed, which elaborates an action plan to solve the problems identified within the community and subsequently implements the plan. The project was originally financed by dvv international and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, but since the beginning of the year, “The Citizen comes First” is a self sufficient project that continues to be implemented without any outside funding.  

Together: Old and Young, intergenerational learning in community spaces

Sacha Vieira,;

Hester Radstake,; Liliana Sousa,

Intergenerational practice (IGP) brings together people from different generations by the nourishment of meaningful relationships. The project TOY: Together Old and Young (2012-2014) focuses on promoting intergenerational learning and developing in community spaces, involving older people (over 55 years) and young children (under 9 years). Young children involvement in IG initiatives is uncommon and a still neglected issue in research, practice and policy.

The project was structured in five phases and the last dedicated to support the design and implementation of 10 intergenerational pilot actions in 5 countries. (Spain, Poland, Italy and Portugal).The pilots goals is to enhance intergenerational learning, sharing and relationships.

This paper describes the two pilot actions implemented by the Portuguese TOY partner (University of Aveiro), from May to July 2014, on a weekly base:

Pilot A – TOY Intergenerational Library, Centro Comunitário São Pedro de Aradas – aimed to join 2 groups of users of the centre (kindergarten children and seniors attending the home care service) to play and build games together. The goal was to create an intergenerational toy library with resources and tools for games and playing. 88 children from 3 to 6 years, 15 seniors from 74 to 96 years and 6 staff members were involved.

Pilot B – Recipes with Smiles, Centro Social de Azurva – aimed to bring together kindergarten children and seniors from the community in cooking activities. The goal was to develop a cooking book with recipes and memories on culinary heritage. 45 children (from 3 to 6 years old), 8 seniors (from 63 to 95 years old) and 3 staff members were involved.

Data were collected in order to document, describe and assess the pilot-actions; instruments include interviews, video and photography. Toy partners and practitioners collected data with the groups involved: children and their parents, older persons, facilitators.

Seniors reported benefits mostly by feeling valued and useful when contributing to future generations. Children had chances to reconnect with the past, nourishing respect for older generations and local identity. In addition, the medium-term goals (i.e. toy library and cooking book) showed to ensure continuity.

Main obstacles mentioned are: over-sized groups of participants constraining the nourishment of meaningful relationships; and IG activities not included in the institution’s routine programme limiting the practitioners’ availability and dedication.

Playing and cooking seem to be empowering activities for IG learning, linking generations by having fun together in atmosphere of happiness and wellbeing.

Funded by European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme, Grundtvig, the TOY (Together Old and Young); 526706-LLP-2012-NL-Grundvig-GMP.

Coming of (Old) Age in the Digital Age: ICT Usage and Non-Usage among Older Adults

Jaime R. S. Fonseca

Institute of Social & Political Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal  Centre for Public Administration & Policies

We studied adoption and usage of ICT (mobile phones, computers, and Internet) by Portuguese older adults. We surveyed a random stratified sample of 500 individuals over 64 years of age living in Lisbon. Inside each stratum (four), local councils were randomly selected to compose the sampling points. In the final phase of the sample design, we used quota sampling by gender and age to follow the demographic structure of the city of Lisbon.                            

To analyse the survey data we first used Latent Class Models (LCM), with LatentGold 3.0, to estimate a profile for mobile phone, computer, and Internet user. Second, we ran binary logistic regressions (BLR) to measure the impact of demographic variables in the probability of using mobile phone, computer, and Internet. Our independent variables are age, gender, occupation, previous occupation, education, religion, household composition, and marital status. Use of mobile phones, computers, and the Internet usage constituted our three dependent variables, dichotomous (user or nonuser).  

We carried out LCM estimation (Fonseca 2013) for each dependent variable and the independent variables, and we used AIC3 information criterion to select the best model, which selected two classes for mobile phone and computer usage.  

Mobile phone and computer user are more likely to be male, younger (until 74), with secondary or higher education; in the work force or retired but still working, with a previous or current occupation in specialized or technical fields and married or divorced.

  1. Mobile phone and the computer non-user are more likely to be female, older (75& +), with less than secondary education; retired, with a previous occupation in services, agriculture and similar or inactive, single or widowed, living alone or living with grandchildren, and roman catholic.

To measure the impact of demographic factors in the probability of using mobile phones, computers, and Internet, we carried out BLR. Only age (p < 0.001), education (p < 0.01), and marital status (p < 0.05) had a statistically significant effect on the probability of using mobile phones. From age increases the likelihood of using mobile phones decreases. Only less than secondary education is statistically significant, comparing to the baseline higher education. When compared to people with higher education, people with less than secondary education were less likely to use mobile phones. In addition, comparing to widows, singles were more likely to use mobile phones.

Fonseca, Jaime R. S. (2013), Clustering in the Field of Social Sciences: That’s Your Choice,

International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 16 (5), 403-428

LEAGE Project

Myrto-Maria Ranga

The goal of the LEAGE Project was to create digital learning games for seniors and to validate the knowledge acquisition due to the game play, senior’s acceptance of two different game interaction systems, their experience when playing the game and the accessibility of the game user interface among seniors in three countries: the Netherlands, Spain and Greece. Several qualitative and quantitative research methods were combined and the tests provided a number of valuable and in-depth results. First, the accessibility of the game menus and interaction devices was high and the player experience in digital game play with a remote control and 3D sensor were mostly positive. Seniors reported that they experienced learning and overall it can be concluded that the goals were met: offering a similar accessibility and player experience between countries and devices, and providing learning for older Europeans. 

A story from a village of Saint Tomas

how we got the pensioners and unemployed elderly people engaged!

(The story has been written by Ljuba Fišer – a retired teacher and educator)


In 2011 in Prlekija, a rather poorly developed part of north-eastern Slovenia, an idea was brought up to activate retired people and unemployed elderly people, who were mostly of low education profiles and who spent most of their time inactive and alone.

A war veteran came up with an idea to bring together the retired or elderly unemployed veterans from the war for independence of Slovenia (1991), to reminiscence about the historical events from the war, in which they were actively involved.

Many hours and many courses went by (120 hours to be more exact), and with the help of two senior educators, 9 participants (all male) from the Saint Tomas village got to know each other, their village, had history lessons, visited museums and private collections of war equipment and even got to hang out with a war attaché from Belgrade (Serbia). Out of it came a final product, a written monograph, of which the participants are very proud of.

They participated in the making of the content of the courses and the educators were there to motivate them and were at the end surprised to find out that the group managed to self-organise itself also outside their regular meetings.

As some of them live alone, they started to look out for each other and got interested to participate also in other courses.

CINAGE Project

Maria Helena Antunes


CINAGE offers exciting later life learning opportunities, engaging elderly people with critical analysis of European cinema and practical film making experience, and thus promoting Active Ageing.

CINAGE/ European Cinema for Active Ageing is a European project conceived and devised by partner organisations from Italy, Slovenia, United Kingdom and coordinated by AidLearn, Portugal. Now that active ageing has become the most prominent professional and political vision of later life, films should more often convey images of active and socially included older people. But is it really so?

Have the predominant images of passive, dependent, threatened or frail older people been replaced by those of active ageing more in tune with developments in ageing society? What about film education to this end?

The project, its outputs and outcomes are primarily meant for educators of older adults, adult education providers, older people, experts on active ageing and experts on European film. The project is also meant to raise public awareness about active ageing and the role of films in fostering representations of active ageing and about how old age can be dealt with today.

Each partner organisation conducts a research into the state of art of active ageing policies and practices in its country and cultural setting. European films are then selected based on their concentration in competencies for active ageing (learning, health, civic and community, financial/economic, emotional, technological competencies) and covering the 28 member states. Focus groups are set up in each country with representatives of the target groups for analysing the twelve films selected. CINAGE Package (with Guide and Manual) is prepared and a pilot course is conducted for older adult educators. Older participants themselves shoot three three-minute films about how they view active ageing.

January - March 2014: research on active ageing; February - March 2014: focus groups analyse the selected twelve films, from the point of view of active ageing competencies; September 2014: CINAGE Guide for educators of older adults, for providers of later life learning; CINAGE Manual for older learners; December 2014 - April 2015: CINAGE Pilot Course into six modules, including a cinema workshop for shooting short-films  on active ageing by older people; June 2015: Delivery of the final CINAGE Package.

Maria Helena Antunes, Project Coordinator

CINAGE Website:



Anna WANKA (1), L’ubica GASILOVA (2), Pedro CANO (3), Serena D’ANGELO (4), Oldrich STANEK (5), Maria TOIA (6), Carlos VAZ DE CARVALHO (7), Cláudia AZEVEDO (7)


(1) University of Vienna, Department of Sociology, Austria

(2) Forum Pre Pomoc Starsim, Slovakia

(3) Aula Permanente de Formación Abierta, Universidad de Granada, Spain

(4) Anziani e non solo società cooperativa, Italy

(5) Zivot 90, Czech Republic

(6) Romanian Institute for Adult Education, Romania

(7) Virtual Campus Ltd, Portugal



Life expectancy is growing. So there is an equally growing need to fully integrate senior citizens in the Knowledge Society where ICT tools play a crucial role. Their current exclusion, due to technological illiteracy, prevents them from fully exercising their rights but also prevents Society from benefitting from their large experience, life-wisdom and know-how. Furthermore, with the advent of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), this problem was aggravated, as more and more information, communication and formal duties are being designed and processed for that context.


The difficulties that this generation experiences in the access and use of new ICT tools should not be excuse for generating inequality and increasing the risk of exclusion. It is necessary to raise awareness and to train the operators that work with senior citizens towards the benefits of using mobile devices. The aim of the UISEL project is to improve the content and quality of training courses for teachers and staff that work with senior citizens, regarding the benefits of new technologies and focusing on the use of mobile devices, for instance, in regard to fiscal obligations, social security issues, emergency situations, medical monitoring, preventing isolation, and even leisure and time occupation.


The definition of the UISEL pedagogical approach in terms of content and technological development must be directly derived from the analysis of the specific learning needs and motivations of the elderly taking in consideration variances in group-specific learning competences. The consortium conducted a thorough analysis, interviewing practitioners, i.e. senior education trainers and social workers, both formal and volunteers, from different types of organizations: private and public, working in urban and rural areas, acting in high and low socio-economic context, allowing to gather broader perspectives. The consultation included analysis on the general use of mobile devices by senior citizens, preferred and most useful e-services, experience in training senior citizens with resource to mobile devices and, finally, validation of the UISEL proposed model. The research conducted comprised also the identification of best practice examples and online resources on senior citizens’ learning and ICT usage. This article traces the current European situation regarding this issue.


Proposer: Cláudia Azevedo

„The value of travelling“

Giorgio Comi, Cornelia Schlick



The main challenge for” Learning in Later Life “is to elaborate new didactical and methodical approaches for the process in long life learning for the elderly and to identify new competences in trainers` training context or training of welcome and care personnel.The European Added value of our learning Partnership APLi(APLI  Ageing practices to be lifelong active and healthy) was to develop and to elaborate a new methodological approach concerning in APLi: “mobility”.

This methodology has been elaborated within the project “Parenting in a Multicultural

European City – PARENTING (Grundtvig 1 – 229977-CP1-2006-1-UK-GRUNDTVIG-

G1PP)” and later applied to other European projects (ICIC – International Course on

Intercultural Competences, EDDILI- To Educate is to Make Possible the Discovery of Life,

REALIZE - Transcultural Biography Work, I-VET - Fostering intercultural competences of

VET teachers and trainers), and in activities related to teachers training (SFIVET - Swiss

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training.  Svizzera), trainers for companies (Labor Transfer, Switzerland), and socio-educational personnel (IBAF - Institut für berufliche Aus - und Fortbildung, Germany).


The Operative Concept 

Since forever, the trip, metaphor of learning, distinguishes also the western culture. In fact, the trip is organised to favour discovery and learning, and the fact of traveling itself becomes metaphor of learning. This vicinity of meaning suggests we discover the priorities, the ways of being, and the goals that we have when we travel, so to reflect on our way of learning.


A trip has the same characteristics of studying: it has a project, a plan, and a goal. Just like while studying, these elements are treated discreetly, they leave room to discovery, to intuition, and to encountering the unexpected.

So travel to learn is not only a slogan. It is necessary to think about the trip though, and not simply about moving elsewhere, so to live a few days away from reality. It is necessary to clarify the difference between travelling and going somewhere, to consider the goal and the motivation of travelling to face different places and different people, with habits that make us question our way of life. It is therefore possible to travel also having fun (doing something different), and at the same time discovering, encountering, learning[1].


The ongoing experience in APLi allowed us to accompany a study group, composed by professionals and volunteers from different associations.

We meet with specialists and common people, we visit organized centres and spontaneous meeting points, and coming home we write about the trip and about travelling and that is sent to a work group that analyses texts.  

 Writing we narrate to others, and in so doing we allow everyone to travel again, through the eyes and the feelings of who is writing. The consciousness of the experienced events and the facts encountered is then enriched by an exchange among the sense of what has been experienced together, the value of what has been shown us, and the meaning of humanity that is at the base of the choices made in a country rather than in an other.

The goal is to find, through this stratagem, the connections that might exist between the activities of the trip and the experiences of learning. In both cases people are faced with new situations, they notice details, and often they describe what affected their personal imagination.

Research based on the autobiographic approach allowed us to value the actions of narrating and writing. Writing produces documents, which are read by others and therefore assume a social value. The reading of these documents by other participants to the trip favours unexpected ideas and unforeseen interpretations. The way of thinking about the trip of each participant can later be highlighted through the significance of the areas of interest considered. These interpretations are then discussed and shared within the group and become key elements to consider in a common project.

Mobility, narration, and exchange, together with this reflective approach, become elements of learning and reciprocal comprehension. The reflective approach often needs to be solicited, gently, inviting the participants to wonder about what they have just written and about the meaning of what they shared. For this reason it is always useful to have a moderator, a tutor, able to walk the participants through this meta-process.


In closing, it is necessary to remember that the oral and written narration are two of the ways of interacting through the mediation of an object that contains part of our thoughts and values. It is in fact possible to proceed in an interactive way, for instance during a maieutic session, or with the participation to a blog or in a social network. Other forms of mediation can be collections of photographs taken during moments of a trip, of work, of exchange. Even short films of the visited places can be used, but this requires quite some time to process the material, and the risk is to shift the attention from the visit itself to the production of a movie. The schematisation, at the end of a meeting, is another way of sharing.

“I liked reflecting especially after the first experience” was the testimony of a participant, and it clearly indicates that there had been an influence from the operative and educational context. It also indicates the awareness that change is present.



  1. Experiences while travelling in a transnational (vocational) context initiates  self reflection

in a new way/ sharpen the eyes for vocational acting and get new competences in  organisation, language, personal vocational process.

  1. Travelling  in old age initiates a chance to grow, to share experiences, to be active, to prevent isolation, activate one’s own resources and transform a problem into an opportunity There is a high connection between travelling and the experiences of learning!
  2. Travelling in an intergenerational and international group initiates the chance of dialogues between generations and enter in a discussion and understanding about historical and political questions. Travelling in a guided context favours the reflection on one’s own convictions in the relation with people who have different cultures and different age!


The Sense of Travelling Today for Young and Adults

The trip is then an opportunity to reclaim and appraise, young world explorers, and adults seeking validation or new experiences! We do this with the elderly, who face each other and try to understand their role in this society that demands we consider the novelty of four generations living together, with four eras, four life models, four ways of representing past and future, and to live the present.  





Giorgio Comi:  

Project manager in Labor Transfer SA

Lecturer in the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training – SFIVET Cornelia Schlick:

Institute for vocational and advanced vocational training- manager of the school for social pedagogics and motopedagogics- lecturer in training centres for the care of elderly


                               This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of authors, and Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made for the information contained therein.C:\Users\Graça\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\EU_flag_LLP_EN-01.jpg

[1] Also see the works of anthropologist Michel, Frank (2012) of whom we cite a book from 2012: L’Eloge du voyage désorganisé: Déroutes et détours. Annecy F, Livres du monde editions