Methodological concerns and their solutions in third-age language learning studies

van der Ploeg, M., Keijzer, M. & Lowie, W., 16-Oct-2020, In : Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

With the average life expectancy in especially developed countries steadily increasing, healthy ageing is prioritised on the research agenda. Various studies have looked into bilingualism as a possible anti-ageing tool to delay the onset of symptoms of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, with as perhaps the most promising recent line of work intervention studies that introduce bilingual experiences to seniors in the form of foreign language courses meant to induce a protective effect on cognitive decline. Unfortunately, the scant studies available have not found convincing results, most likely due to several pitfalls in their designs, one of the most important being that method of instruction is rarely specified or controlled for. In this paper, we identify methodological concerns that need to be addressed when conducting experimental work related to third-age language learning, resulting in a research agenda for third-age language learning studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDutch Journal of Applied Linguistics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16-Oct-2020


  • implicit/explicit language teaching, cognition, third-age language learning, healthy ageing, English as a foreign language (EFL), seniors, critical foreign language gerontology

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