Intergenerational practice is defined as the act of bringing generations together in purposeful, mutually beneficial activities, that promote greater understanding and respect between generations and contributing to a more cohesive community.1

Intergenerational practice enables learning to take place across the generations leading to intergenerational learning. Intergenerational learning is a learning partnership based on reciprocity and mutuality involving people of different ages where the generations work together to gain skills, values, and knowledge.2

3 Aspects

of Intergenerational Practice

Experiential Learning

Learning through direct experience and gathering insights through reflection

Cooperative Play

Working together towards a common goal in a recreational activity

Narratives & Memories

Sharing and reflecting on past experiences with others

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combinations of grasping and transforming the experience.3

Face-to-face interactions would provide opportunities for individuals from both ends of the spectrum to gain knowledge of each other and to reflect on their own actions. Instead of generalising each generation as a homogeneous group, individuals would start to acknowledge cultural diversity and invalidate negative stereotypes.

Potential Benefits:

Cooperative Play

Cooperative play is a recreational activity in which individuals would co-operate and work towards a common goal together. In the process, they would develop a shared language. 

The use of play with learning could potentially result in the development of mutual trust and friendship among the participants, thus leading to longer-lasting impact.

Potential Benefits:

Narratives & Memories

Narratives and memories carry universal themes and motifs that are easily relatable by anyone, as by human nature, we are all storytellers in our own ways. Storytelling helps to validate experiences and give them greater meanings. The sharing of narratives could also uncover commonalities between people, connect them, and foster a sense of community.4 Reflecting on happy personal memories would induce nostalgia. This could trigger memories of past social connections and, at the same time, encourage new connections. In addition, nostalgia is transferable — the beneficial effects of nostalgia could be obtained through nostalgic recollections of another person.5
Potential Benefits:

Behavioural Change Framework

Experiential Learning Cycle3 + Stages of Change Cycle6

One would starts off with being ignorant and unaware that change is needed (1). After gaining awareness, one would start to become conscious and contemplation occurs (2). In experiential learning, one would draw concepts and insights from experiencing and reflecting, experiment with small changes (3) before assimilating the changes into everyday actions (4). During the period of maintenance, the changes in behaviours would either become part of lifestyle (6) or relapse (7) into ignorance. 

[1] The Beth Johnson Foundation. Intergenerational Practice, Policy and Performance: A Framework for Local Authorities. 2009,

[2] Generations Working Together. Learning Through Intergenerational Practice. Generations Working Together (GWT), pp. 1–20,

[3] Kolb, David A. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Prentice Hall, 1984. 

[4] Atkinson, Robert. “The Life Story Interview.” Handbook of Interview Research, edited by Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein, Sage Publications, 2002, pp. 121–40, doi:10.4135/9781412973588.n9

[5] Routledge, Clay. “Nostalgia Reveals the Importance of Family and Close Relationships.” Institute of Family Studies, 21 May 2019,

[6] Prochaska, James O., and Carlo Diclemente. “Transtheoretical Therapy: Toward a More Integrative Model of Change.” Psychotherapy Theory Research & Practice, vol. 19, no. 3, 1982, pp. 276–88, doi:10.1037/h0088437.

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