Intergenerational knowledge transfer


The process of intergenerational knowledge transfer comes from knowledge generation and mobilization transforming into local social learning driven by older and younger generations. Studying this seems topical because the connection between knowledge transfer and social participation is rarely examined, even in the field of community-based participatory research. This study of knowledge seems also essential through the lenses of constructivism as it is value-driven and generated through people’s on-going interaction (Berkes, 2009).

The analysis of the relationship between generations involves a comprehensive approach, considering philosophical, legal, psychological, cultural and sociological aspects. At the stages of life, people perform various socio-cultural social roles: child - childhood; student - teenager; father – , employee, mature age; grandfather - mentor, elderly person.

Сhildren and teenager are periods of active assimilation of cultural and legal norms and values. The period of maturity is the maximum assimilated norms and values, they increase from the individual capabilities of a person. In the period of old age, lag begins, a decrease in the rate of assimilation of changes in social processes, a decrease in psychophysiological capabilities and adaptation to socio-cultural changes.

The socio-cultural situation in public relations has the potential both to reduce the distance between generations, and to totally distance, to divide generations in a crisis.

Has a significant generational gap formed in modern society? What methods are promising for overcoming it? Is the older generation dissatisfied? Is there a strong socio-cultural connection between the elderly and children?

The Institute of Cultural Values and Resources conducted research on elderly respondents in 2021-2022. As a result, the researchers learned the following trends:

- The violation of intergenerational ties is the loss of universal ethical norms, intangible cultural values. Customs, traditions, rituals (family, national, religious) are not preserved.

- Unlimited access to information via global networks; easy search for an answer to any question via the Internet. This reduces the need to be a student and to be a teacher. The direct transfer of experience, respect between generations stops. The authority of the mentor is lost, the wise advice of the mentor is not important. There is a change in social role relationships – the younger ones are now teaching the older ones. Without ethics and morality, this change in priorities creates resentment and intergenerational conflicts.

-  The increase in life expectancy is presented in the global world as a problem of overpopulation, the threat of a shortage of planetary resources. Old age is subconsciously rejected as a deformation, resource depletion. The inevitability of old age causes collective subconscious fear in economically unstable societies.

- In the "digital" world, the need for constant, inevitable changes in the professional, social and family environment is encouraged. The acceleration of the dynamics of change leads to the inevitable lag of the elderly in the race of generations.

The goals of the digital race are to increase the number of contacts in social networks and profiles. Many elderly people, strong professionals in their field, are forced to attract more audience in order to be in demand, spend a lot of time on the Internet.

Nomophobia – (no mobile-phone phobia) translated as "fear of being left without a smartphone" is a serious challenge of our time, to which children and youth are more susceptible. This is a "separation anxiety", an addiction when there is no smartphone in hand. The modern "digital casino" operates according to the old rule: the longer a user spends time in a mobile application or social network, the more profitable this client is for the "masters of discourse", owners of Internet resources.

People of the older generation have lived a long life without the Internet, have preserved good immunity, a long memory of values in the real world, not in the virtual one.

The development of digital technologies increases child-centrism: priority and concentration of resources around children, reliance on the "youth of the brain", high age-related ability to network communication, instant dynamics of changes, that is, exclusively investments in the future, in the future.

We call for a return to reason, morality, and balance. Then there will be no generational gap, the loss of the past and there will be no "high-tech" barbarism.

The acquisition of balance, balanced, harmonious relationships between generations is possible. Prevention of immorality is the mutual help of generations.

Scientists of the Institute of Cultural Values and Resources of Boychevska Valeria Vladimirovna, Alekseev Sergey Vladimirovich developed and put into practice the author's curriculum "Art-Eco-Bridge". Positive results of individual training have been achieved, where two students are representatives of different generations, not necessarily relatives from the same family. In an individual approach, the eco-social correction of sociopathic behavior has been successfully implemented, media-ecological boundaries for young people have been established. The boundaries of media development for the elderly have been expanded.

Positive results have been achieved by the following methods: observation, discursive-evaluative method and the method of eco-value donation. As a result, students, despite age differences, show common achievements: creative creative activity, personal responsibility, self-organization. Interaction in the learning process, students of different ages acquire knowledge. They independently recognize and reduce the risks and threats of manipulation. This is important for the digital age. The program develops new ways of ethical discourse, eliminates the lack of attention to each other, the possibility of mutual learning and strengthening the communicative ties of the elderly and young.

Instead of pushing the older generation to the margins of discourse, it is necessary to accept old age as an inevitable phenomenon, inclusion in social activity. This allows us to overcome the collective unconscious fear of the future. This is the task of moral development, moral knowledge of the coming decades. The task of humanity is to learn moral meaning.

The expressions “community of interest”, “community of learning” and, most significantly, “community of practice” have captured the attention of many in the area of knowledge transfer (Hasan and Crawford, 2007). Preserving and disseminating natural heritage and local cultural knowledge, generating creative knowledge, learning through practice and experience, and collaborating with bridging organizations to build and maintain learning infrastructure are the major elements of implementing the community-based strategies of knowledge transfer between generations (Wenger et al., 2002). As it was noted by Raymond et al. (2010), knowledge integration studies pay little attention to the forms of knowledge which are privileged within the community and the engagement of different generations, especially within environmental planning and management.

Scientists have identified several methods and strategies to build coherent and resilient networks of actors for intergenerational knowledge transfer.


Methods and strategies:

Building trust and social capital.



Linking natural heritage and social capital;

Establishing rules for stakeholders’ collaboration representing their heterogeneity;

Linking institutions and the public.


Methods and strategies:

Building common vision.



Attracting a diversity of supporters;

Creating community and intergenerational cohesion.


Methods and strategies:

Facilitating social innovations.



Organizing knowledge exchange about existing practices;

Generating new processes and options;

Enhancing knowledge transfer by integrating various perspectives and practices.


Methods and strategies:

Establishing social networks.



Bonding similar stakeholders (e.g. organizing local exchange among local villagers);

Bridging different stakeholder groups to react to changed conditions and challenges;

Linking and engaging with leaders in different generations;

Providing opportunities for engagement with research and management.


Methods and strategies:

Facilitating knowledge building.



Combining knowledge of local natural and social capital;

Integrating a variety of perspectives and opinions


The challenges are mainly associated with the ways through which knowledge is transferred between generations: 1) personal experience (Fazey et al., 2006); 2) a formalised process (Pullin and Knight, 2001); 3) social learning (Evely et al., 2008).

To transform the process of knowledge transfer into a process characterized by self-organized learning and knowledge dissemination, it is crucial to overcome the challenge of engaging different types of knowledge. It occurs as a result of people’s different perceptions (from various generations) about the nature of their decision-making (Dyson and Brown, 2006).

While the difference in perceptions affects personal attitudes to perceiving information and the willingness to learn, it also defines the way knowledge transfer results in research opportunities and scientific outcomes (Miller et al., 2008). Because of the hybrid nature of knowledge, a consensus on facilitating scientific outputs is needed. Therefore, the involvement of researchers from various disciplines, who assist with knowledge exchange and the engagement of different generations, is essential since the beginning of learning processes (Raymond et al., 2010, pp. 1770). 

Overall, institutional support is essential in integrating and disseminating multiple knowledge forms among generations and embedding them into social learning processes (Berkes, 2009).



Internet sources


The culture of a happy old age: the interaction of generations




1. Berkes, F. (2009). Evolution of co-management: role of knowledge generation, bridging organizations and social learning. Journal of Environmental Management, (90/5), 1692-1702

2.Dyson, S., & Brown, B. (2006). Social Theory and Applied Health Research. Open University Press, Maidenhead U.K.

3. Evely, A.C., Fazey, I., Pinard, M., & Lambin, X. (2008). The influence of philosophical perspectives in integrative research: a conservation case study in the cairngorms national park. Ecology and Society (13/2)

4. Fazey, I., Fazey, J. A., Salisbury, J. G., Lindenmayer, D. B., & Dovers, S. (2006). The nature and role of experiential knowledge for environmental conservation. Environmental conservation, 33(1), 1-10

5. Hasan, H., & Crawford, K. (2007). Knowledge mobilisation in communities through socio-technical system. Knowledge Management Research and Practice (5/4), 237-248

6. Miller, T.R., Baird, T.D., Littlefield, C.M., Kofinas, G., Chapin III, F.S., & Redman, C.L. (2008). Epistemological pluralism: reorganizing interdisciplinary research. Ecology and Society (13/2), 46–62

7.Pullin, A.S., & Knight, T.M. (2001). Effectiveness in conservation practice: pointers from medicine and public health. Conservation Biology 15 (1), 50–54

8. Raymond, M., Fazey, I., Reed, M.S., Stringer, L.C., Robinson, G.M., & Evely, A.C. (2010). Integrating local and scientific knowledge for environmental management. Journal of Environmental Management (91), 1766–77

9. Wenger E., McDermott R., & Snyder W. (2002). Cultivating Communities of Practice. Harvard Business School Press


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