Connecting the Generations: A Practical Guide to Implementing an Oral History Project in the Gerontology Classroom


  • Mary Ligon
  • M. C. Ehlman
  • Gabriele Moriello


Experiential learning is an important theme in education today. Including an intergenerational oral history project in undergraduate gerontology courses is a pedagogical approach that can have positive outcomes for students and elders alike. In this article, the authors draw from experience as they describe an oral history project which they have conducted for over a decade. Key findings from this project include that students’ attitudes toward older adults and the aging process improve both when the project is included in a traditional classroom or in an on-line environment. There are equivalent positive shifts in students’ attitudes when they interview elders who are family or close friends and when they interview elders with whom they are not acquainted. As a result of participating in oral history interviews, elders may experience increased perceived generativity, and their life satisfaction may improve over time. Key considerations for implementation of this project are discussed.