The Oklahoma 100 Year Life Project as an Instructional Tool to Transform Student Engagement and Pedagogy in Gerontological Education


  • Alex J. Bishop
  • Julie Pearson-Little Thunder
  • Tanya Finchum
  • Maria Beach


The purpose of this manuscript was to explore use of a hybrid instructional method to enhance transformative learning among undergraduate college students. Using oral history transcripts collected from centenarians, a total of 11 undergraduate students enrolled in a gerontology course completed a series of five module activities used to explore underlying autobiographical memories and life story narratives. Activities were facilitated by a lead faculty member in gerontology and two additional faculty members representing an oral history research program. Together, faculty implemented an integrated pedagogy application consisting of ethnodrama and transformative learning approaches. Thematic analysis of a purposeful and reflective writing exercise completed by students revealed three transformative outcomes in learning. These outcomes were consistent with developmental attributes common to gerotranscendence in human longevity. Identified themes included a heightened sense of altruism, the endorsement of life acceptance, and meaningful feelings of emancipation. Results further indicate that the combined use of ethnodrama and transformative learning techniques contributed to an age-embodied learning process whereby student-learners holistically embraced the oral histories, recalled stories, and shared memories of living a 100-year life.