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Dr Alexandra Withnall

Alex Withnall

Honorary Associate Professor

A dot Withnall at warwick dot ac dot uk


Alex has been associated with Warwick for 23 years, having retired from her post as Associate Professor in Lifelong Learning & Health in Warwick Medical School in 2009.

She originally worked as Director of Continuing Professional Development in the former Centre for Primary Health Care Studies setting up and teaching on, a range of postgraduate courses; she also taught on the MBChB. Alex previously worked at the Universities of Keele and Lancaster and at the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (now the Learning & Work Institute). She was a Visiting Lecturer at Charles Sturt University in Australia in 1998 and an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester, 2009-2011.

Her main research interests are in ageing, lifelong learning and especially, learning in later life. She has given invited lectures in universities in Australia, Austria, Canada, Israel, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Taiwan and has published extensively in the field. She has acted as a reviewer for a variety of international journals and has considerable experience as an internal and external examiner in universities in the UK and in Malta, Australia and New Zealand. In retirement, she has continued to occasionally teach, to research and publish, to contribute to international conferences and is active in a number of international associations and networks. In 2011, she was awarded a prize by the Educational Studies Association for her book Improving Learning in Later Life, the outcome of a ESRC funded research project. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Selected Recent Publications

Withnall, A. (in press). New perspectives on later life learning in the age of longevity, Diskursy Młodych Andragogów/Adult Education Discourses (Poland).

Withnall, A. (2022). A global perspective on later life learning in Findsen, B., Li, A-T, Wei, H-C (eds). Taiwan’s Senior Learning Movement: Perspectives from outside in and from inside out, Springer Switzerland, 23-36.

Withnall, A. (2020). Older people and the importance of learning for their health/wellbeing in Northern Ireland Impact Forum on Adult Learning & Belfast Learning City, Learn Well, Live Well. Adult learning and health and wellbeing. Belfast: Learning & Work Institute.

Withnall, A. (2020). Older adults and Covid-19 in the UK: the changing face of learning. PIMA Bulletin No.32.

Withnall, A. (2017). Learning to live with chronic illness in later life: empowering myself. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 57(3), 474-489.

Withnall, A. (2017). Intergenerational relationships and lifelong learning: missing links. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 15(1), 4-13.

Mestheneos, E. & Withnall, A. (2016). Ageing, learning and health: making connections. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 35(5), 522-536.

Withnall, A. (2016). United Kingdom in Findsen, B. & Formosa, M. (eds.) International Perspectives on Older Adult Education. Research, policies and practice, Dordrecht & London: Springer, 467-480.

Withnall, A. (2016). Lifelong learning comes of age: Intergenerational perspectives, Investigar Em Educação, II Series (5), 11-27.

Withnall, A. (2015). Learning in later life: What can universities do? in Field, J., Schmidt-Hertha, B. & Waxenegger, A. (eds). Universities and Engagement, Routledge: London and New York, 155-166.

Withnall, A. (2015). What differences are there across the life course in learning processes and how might public policy enhance learning capacity? Evidence Review. Foresight Future of an Ageing Population Project. London: Government Office for Science.

Withnall, A. (2012). Lifelong learning in long term care settings in Jarvis, P. with Watts, M. (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Learning, London & New York: Routledge, 160-167.

Withnall, A. (2012). Lifelong or longlife? Learning in the later years in Aspin, D.N., Chapman, J., Evans, K., Bagnall, R. (eds). Second International Handbook of Lifelong Learning. Part 2. Dordrecht, London, New York: Springer, 649- 664.

Withnall, A. (2010). Improving Learning in Later Life. London & New York: Routledge.