Background: This paper is about a study aimed to understand what successful ageing and later life learning mean to older adults in two cultures: Hong Kong and Australia.
Objective: It aims to shed light on (1) the meaning of ageing and learning as conceptualized by elders in Hong Kong and Australia; (2) the reasons for participation in later life learning, as well as, barriers for non-participation; (3) their learning interests and instructional preferences; and (4) the correlation between learning and successful ageing, and between learning and other well-being variables, including health, happiness and satisfaction.
Method: Two large samples of elders from Hong Kong (n=519) and Australia (n=421) participated in the study. A self-developed questionnaire, called the “Learning and Ageing Survey 2013”, was used. It included a total of 108 structured questions in three sections.
Results: Within group analysis of the data from the two locations indicated that there are more similarities, rather than differences, between elders in Hong Kong and Australia with respect to background characteristics, meanings of ageing and learning, reasons for participation, barriers for nonparticipation, learning interests and instructional preferences.
Conclusions: The fact that there are more commonalities, rather than differences, between the two samples of elders from two different cultures supports the claim that cultures very often overlap and coincide, and need not be seen as polarized, where becoming bi-cultural is possible. It is therefore important for cross-cultural comparative research to identify cultural differences, while at the same time, to recognize the existence of similarities between cultures.