Learning and Personal and Social Development of Adults and of Old People

Academic year
Subject Area
Education Sciences
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

Theory and Practice in Adult Education and Training

Teaching Methods

Lectures; group work dynamics and Socratic discussions in the classroom; Portfolio; bibliographical reviews.


Theoretical assessment (final frequency) – 10 values

Reflective learning Portfolio (4 exercises) – 10 values

Learning Outcomes

The main goal is to develop in Master’s students the ability to help adults to understand themselves better, other people and to develop a higher awareness of their place in the community and in the world. 


At the end of the program specified below master’s student should be able to:
1) Identify and understand the concepts and general principles that guide social and personal development of adults and the elderly.
2) Know, interpret and discuss the most relevant theoretical frameworks for the promotion of lifelong learning and development of adults and the elderly. 
3) Identify and understand the main developmental dimensions inherent in adult learning theories.
4) Develop the learning capacity of adults, foster reflective thinking and promote the connection to the community, under the perspective of strengthening development and lifelong education.  
5) Know and understand the main models and factors related to successful ageing and to the quality of life of the elderly.

Work Placement(s)



I. Concepts and fundamentals of learning and development of adults and the elderly;
a. Learning, development and education of adults and the elderly: terminology issues;
b. Learning and human development in adulthood: main determinants and meta-theoretical principles;
c. Linking learning and development in adulthood;
II. Key-theories to transformative praxis:
a. Constructivist-developmental theories;
b. Experiential learning models;
c. Transformative learning theory;
d. Models of cognitive development;
e. Attention, memory and cognition;
III. Educating adults and the elderly with developmental aims:
a) Understand knowledge as a dialogic process;
b) Promote a dialogic relationship with ourselves;

c) Foster the ability to learn continuously;

d) Develop initiative and personal authorship;
e) Foster connection to others and the community
IV. Enhance development and integration processes of elderly:
a. The gerontological revolution;
b. Successful ageing and quality of life;
c. Wisdom, meaning of life and spirituality.

Head Lecturer(s)

Albertina Lima Oliveira

Assessment Methods

Final assessment
Exam: 100.0%

Periodic assessment
Theoretical assessment (final frequency) – 10 values Reflective learning Portfolio (4 exercises) – 10 values: 100.0%


Johnson, M. L. (Ed.) (2003). The Cambridge handbook of age and ageing. Cambridge: UniversityPress.
Marchand, H. (2004). O desenvolvimento da reflexividade na idade adulta: Teoria, dados e implicações na formação. Revista da Educação, XII (1),91-101.
Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S. & Baumgarten (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3ª ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Mezirow, J. & Associates (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress (pp. 3-33). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Mezirow, J. (1996). Contemporary paradigms of learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 46 (3), 158-173.
Oliveira, A. L. (2004). O professor enquanto facilitador da aprendizagem. Psychologica, nº Extra-Série de homenagem ao Prof. Doutor Manuel Viegas Abreu, 523-534.
Oliveira, A. L. (2007). Desenvolvimento do pensamento reflexivo e educação de adultos: Uma revisão de modelos teóricos. In A. C. Fonseca, M. J. Seabra-Santos & M. F. Gaspar (Eds.), Psicologia e educação: Novos e velhos temas (pp. 217-246). Coimbra: Edições Almedina.
Simões, A. (2006). A nova velhice: Um novo público a educar. Porto: Ambar.
Simões, A. (2007). O que é a educação?  In A. C. Fonseca, M. J. Seabra-Santos & M. F. Gaspar (Eds.), Psicologia e educação: Novos e velhos temas (pp. 31-52). Coimbra: Edições Almedina.
Taylor, K., Marienau, C. Fiddler, M. (2000). Developing adult learners: Strategies for teachers and trainers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Tornstam, L. (2003). Gerotrancendence from young old age to old old age. Online publication from the Social Gerontology Group, Uppsala (www.soc.uu.se/publications/fulltext/gtransoldold.pdf).
Vandenplas-Holper, C. (2000). Desenvolvimento psicológico na idade adulta e durante a velhice: Maturidade e sabedoria (Tradução de Paulo Renato Cardoso de Jesus). Porto: Edições ASA.