Strategies for Intergenerational Problem Based Learning

Importance: Olde

Background and significance: Problem based learning (PBL) has been recognized as a learning approach that facilitates the cultivation of knowledge and of critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Small groups of students work together collaboratively to confront and solve complex real world problems. Likewise, intergenerational teaching and learning offers complimentary outcomes and may yield unique benefits when used in tandem with PBL.  Objectives: The primary aim of this presentation is to describe the development, implementation and outcomes of an intergenerational creative storytelling project as a PBL strategy. Methods: Intergenerational groups of students identified real world problems through the stories told by older (65yo and older) group members.  Problems focused on existential suffering, end of life, health maintenance and personal spirituality.  Identified problems were then explored through 6 weeks of the course, resulting in the co-creation of a storytelling podcast that reflected the problem, it’s perceived root causes, influencing factors, and possible solution.  Results and Conclusions:  Students reported that the use of intergenerational groups in PBL enhanced their understanding of course material and assisted in building skills in conflict management, problem solving and critical thinking.  Students also reported that learning with older adults offered contrasting view points and meaningful engagement.