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Rosa Navarrete, Sergio Luján-Mora. OER in Lifelong Learning for Older Adults. In M. Pilar Munuera Gómez and Samuel A. Navarro Ortega (Eds.), The Visually Disabled and the Elderly in the Age of IC Technologies, p. 31-58 (chapter 2), Nova Science Publishers. ISBN: 978-1-53613-058-4.
This chapter introduces the concept of active aging as a strategy to extend people’s self-sufficiency and well-being as they age. In line with this aim, lifelong learning has been proposed as a means of encouraging older adults to engage in learning, including pre-retirement education, planning for the use of leisure time, recreational pursuits and more. These learning programs serve to keep older adults mentally active, and encourage their continued involvement in society. Nevertheless, several specific adjustments need to be considered in order to achieve better learning outcomes in older people. These include accessibility issues related to their milder disabilities, slower pacing for learning, and adapted instructional methods to maintain their interest and engagement. The chapter presents lifelong learning as a strategy to support active aging by using learning resources available in digital formats on the Web. In Section 1, aspects related to disabilities and the Web are presented. As part of this theme, this section includes the concept of web accessibility as well as standards to be applied to improve accessibility in web content. Section 2 presents lifelong learning and its applicability to older people. Also, in this section, the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) for lifelong learning is discussed. Finally, in Section 4, some cases of the use of OER in lifelong learning programs are presented. One example is a lifelong learning program in “digital literacy” that explores the use of OER by searching resources on OER Commons and MERLOT. The chapter concludes by highlighting the contribution of lifelong learning to active aging as well as the feasibility of using OER in lifelong learning for older people. The biggest obstacle to the adoption of OER is finding resources that meet the necessary requirements, both in subject matter and in terms of particular needs. Based on the findings of the research conducted, the authors argue that awareness about accessibility on OER (though not when using Massive Open Online Courses) is still incipient, and that provision of OER suitable for older people, i.e., resources that meet accessibility criteria, continues to be a priority.