Art and Design, Vol. 4, Issue 3, Sep  2021, Pages 32-43; DOI:

Research on the Social Integration of the Elderly in the Mining Area Based on Innovative Learning Communities

, Vol. 4, Issue 3, Sep  2021, Pages 32-43.


Shipeng Zhang 1* , Zhiqiang Guo 1

1 School of Art and Design, Inner Mongolia University of Science and Technology, Baotou, China

Received: 31 May 2021; Accepted: 15 June 2021; Published: 9 July 2021


Under the background of population aging, Datong City, Shanxi Province, as a typical industrial and mining city, the elderly in the mining area is a group with significant characteristics. Due to professional characteristics, the degree of education is low, many old people are troubled by disease, and they face problems including social integration, lack of interpersonal interaction, increased loneliness, and social isolation. In response to the social integration of the elderly in the mining area, build a service design through the learning community, aimed at stimulating the elderly social participation in motivation, providing social participation pathways. On the basis of system building and demand analysis, designers have proposed strategies from the supply side of the system, the older perspective, social support, etc., hoping to improve the social participation of the elderly in the mining area, increase their social participation, and promote them Social integration.


Mining Area, Elderly, Learning Community, Design, Participation

1. Introduction

Datong City in Shanxi Province is a typical industrial and mining city. As the second largest city in Shanxi Province, Datong City is also Chinas largest coal energy base. Coal mining in Datong mining area has always been the pillar industry of Datong City. The mining area of Datong City is a purely industrial and mining area with no agricultural population. The existing urban population of the district is 500,000. The mining area of Datong City is also one of the representative residential areas for large-scale enterprises in the country, which has its particularity compared with ordinary cities. In 2006, Datong City carried out the planning and transformation of the shanty towns in Datong Coal Mine Group, and built more than 6 million square meters of residences, which improved the living conditions of 300,000 absentees and their families. However, the construction of cultural and recreational facilities in the shanty towns is very lacking. Among them, the elderly population accounts for about 20%, in particular, the shanty area is transformed into the community, and the proportion of old people is higher.

In the context of an aging population, the elderly in mining areas have obsolete social concepts due to their obvious occupational characteristics, such as low education and poor education. At the same time, most of them suffer from diseases, so they stay at home for a long time and are inconvenient to go out. Various factors have formed a state of social isolation that is separated from the social network and lacks social participation. They face many problems including decreased social integration, lack of interpersonal communication, increased loneliness, and social isolation [1]. These problems will not only endanger the mental health of the elderly in mining areas, but also affect the quality of life of the elderly, and will bring a heavy burden of social pension. At the same time, under the realistic background of Chinas population aging, the characteristics of aging are manifested in the large base of the aging population, the rapid development speed, and the uneven distribution of the aging population [2]. Under the conditions of insufficient development of Chinas elderly care resources and the continuous development and change of the social relationship network of the elderly population, it is necessary to conduct in-depth exploration of the current status of social isolation of the elderly population in mining areas and the various problems that have arisen, and find corresponding solutions.

2. The Living Conditions of the Elderly in the Mining Area

The main old-age care for the elderly in the mining area is home care. First of all, the shanty renovation in the Datong mining area have improved the living environment of the miners and their families, and provided the foundation for the elderly in the mining area. At the same time, affected by traditional pension concepts and economic conditions, the vast majority of the elderly in mining areas choose to live at home.

After the elderly in the mining community retire, their pensions have become the main source of life for the elderly. Due to the background of the times, only men among the couples often have financial resources. This shows that a pension must support the lives of two elderly people. Due to their living environment and occupational background, treatment costs for work-related injuries and chronic diseases, the elderly are struggling to live. Most of the elderly in the mining area after retirement cannot bear the pressure of daily expenses and their quality of life is low.

In terms of social activities for the elderly in mining areas, there is a lack of learning activities for the elderly in mining areas, and there are few ways to participate in society, and the elderly have nothing to do. Affected by physical conditions, the scope of activities is also limited to the community, and the main leisure activities are only chatting with the elderly in the same community, basking in the sun, etc. Elderly people in mining areas have a low degree of participation in community activities, the form of participation is relatively passive, community activities are few, and the content of participation is single. Due to changes in their living habits, some elderly people are more reluctant to communicate with others and lack a sense of social integration. Most of the community activities participated in are spontaneously organized chess and card entertainment activities. There are few community teams in the community, that is, the elderly women’s Yangko team and some community square dance activities. The mining community is relatively poor in terms of cultural and entertainment construction, and the community has no special A team serving the spiritual and cultural aspects of the elderly. At the same time, due to funding issues, volunteer teams within the community could not be formed.

Faced with such a living environment, the elderly in mining areas often have problems of varying degrees in social participation, including a series of psychological problems caused by social isolation. These problems may endanger the quality of life of the elderly in mining areas, and may bring a heavy burden for the elderly in the society.

3. Exploration of the Design of Alearning Community for the Social Integration of the Elderly in the Mining Area

According to the theory of human socialization [3], starting with the learning behavior of the elderly in the mining area, using learning activities to promote the cultural integration, social role integration, and psychological integration of the elderly in the mining area, and using the socialization of learning activities to bring the individual socialization of the elderly. The most direct impact of learning participation on the construction of individual social networks is to expand the scale of individual social networks and increase the ways of social integration. In individual social networks, although there is also participation in learning activities with relatives, friends, colleagues, and other original social network members, as the main scope of the life of the elderly, how to make full use of the space and time of community life? Through the construction of learning communities, it provides a large number of opportunities for previously unfamiliar individuals to connect with each other and integrate into the individual' s social network, thereby expanding the scale of the individual' s social network and providing a way for the elderly to socialize. From the perspective of social association participation, learning activities can positively promote many aspects of social integration: educational integration, psychological integration, economic integration, identity integration, etc. At the same time, the community is the main living area of the elderly. In the construction of community education for the elderly in Datong, due to the late start of community education in the mining area, the local government and relevant departments have no clear understanding of the role of community elderly education in the social integration of the elderly. It has not attracted sufficient attention, so it is very necessary to build a learning community for the social integration of the elderly in the mining area.

3.1. Service positioning of learning communities

In the context of aging, the elderly will face a series of problems in social connections due to various influencing factors, including reduced social integration, lack of interpersonal communication, increased loneliness, and social isolation. Due to the particularity of life patterns and occupations of the elderly in mining areas, the phenomenon of social isolation tends to be more prominent than that of the elderly in urban areas.In view of the significant problem of social integration of the elderly in the mining area, this study selects the community as the service platform of the entire system, and uses service design thinking to study the learning community service design model that promotes the social integration of the elderly in the mining area.Through the construction of learning activities, the social participation behavior of the elderly in the mining area is improved, so that the elderly in the mining area can integrate into the community life faster and better after they get old, and further integrate into the society ,make elders enjoy independence, achievement and entertainment.

3.2. Creating User Roles

Table 1. User Roles.


62 years old /

retired worker


51years old / manager


Objective: To have an activity path to increase social interaction.

Life situation: Datong mining area resident, living together with his wife, have a son work in other regions, only when he have holiday, his son will see his parents, his body is not goodhe can' t go out, he need to go see your doctor for a while. His entertainment is chatting with neighbors and playing cards. In addition, there is no other entertainment.


Objective: To want to continue to achieve my life value after retirement.

Life situation: Datong mining area resident, live with his wife, there is a son and a daughter, living in the same community, there is still no retirement, often participating in entertainment activities held by the enterprise, the intelligent product acceptance, hoping in retirement After you have a wonderful old-age life.

Education: Primary School

Physical condition: Dietary, synovitis, left legs have work injuries

Education: High School

Physical condition: Have a certain high blood pressure, other physical health is good


56 years old / retired teacher


Objective: I hope to continue learning and can be used.

Life situation: retirement for nearly 20 years, has a fixed trip and life law every day, and insist on exercise. Her children working in Beijing. She is usually responsible for the granddaughter who takes care of the elementary school.

She likes to accept new things, love to play mobile phones, usually have any interesting things to share to their families in time.

She wants to travel abroad, I can talk to foreigners, so there is a need to learn English.

Education: junior high school

Good physical condition

3.3. Stakeholders

There are four stakeholders in the design of learning community service for the elderly in mining areas. The first is the service provider, the organization builder and manager of the service platform; the second is the internal collaborator, including community managers, government agencies, and senior universities. Educational institutions, etc.: The third is the beneficiaries of the service objects, the community members whose main body is the elderly in the mining area, and the fourth is the external partners, such as social enterprises, media, and charity organizations. (Figure 1)


Figure 1. Stakeholders.

3.4. System Construction Content

3.4.1. Organizational Structure

The construction of a learning community first requires the establishment of an organization. The establishment of the leadership organization in the community is the first step in the establishment of a learning community. The establishment of a community learning organization can give full play to its leading role. The establishment of a professional team plays a great role in information communication, resource management, and personnel utilization. As the leadership team of the learning community, the organization connects with the elderly in the mining area and obtains what they need; in the docking community, it obtains government resources; and then connects the information with other educational institutions to build learning content corresponding to the community. Closely connect the three parties to improve efficiency.

3.4.2. Construction of Learning Content

Learning content is the basis for the construction of a learning community. How to effectively improve the social integration of the elderly in the mining area requires the construction and design of the learning content for the special population of the elderly in the mining area. Regarding specific objects and taking the community as a place, how to give full play to the “socialization role” of the society should start from the perspective of community organization as well as the needs of the elderly in the mining area, combining the two to design learning content. Conduct research and analysis for the elderly in the mining area, integrate local characteristics, character characteristics, and meet needs, integrate information, and build corresponding cultural curriculum systems and learning content for different communities.

In view of the health and medical health needs of the elderly in the mining area, health knowledge is the most concerned learning direction for the elderly in the mining area, such as understanding the common diseases and prevention methods in the elderly. Due to environmental and occupational factors, the elderly in the mining area have a high chance of getting sick. They will suffer from occupational and chronic diseases for a long time, such as silicosis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, etc [4]. The elderly in the mining area generally have low levels of education and lack of health care knowledge. . Through the community education system, provide the elderly with health knowledge, such as occupational diseases in mining areas, the generation, prevention, and rehabilitation of chronic diseases, and help the elderly achieve the goals of health promotion, preventive health care, and chronic disease prevention and control.

From the perspective of social role and psychological integration, the learning community provides relevant knowledge of skill learning, which mainly refers to the life skills and knowledge skills of the elderly in the mining area. Life skills such as modern electronic products such as fully automatic washing machines, computers, and mobile phones Use skills [5]. There are also interpersonal communication studies to help the elderly better deal with the communication with their families and neighbors, and better handle the relationship between the children and grandchildren in the family. After the elderly retired, the changes in the life structure will affect the relationship between the family members. After all, old people' s thinking is more conservative and stubborn, so there is hope that through learning, interpersonal relationships can be changed.

For the elderly’s entertainment activities, it is to carry out cultural and sports activities suitable for the elderly, such as “singing, dancing, musical instrument performance, yangko, breeding, etc [6].” The daily recreational activities of the elderly in the mining area are mainly these. The main purpose is to kill time and pass the time. , Recreation, making friends, getting rid of loneliness, etc. On this basis, the cultural and sports activities for the elderly can be enriched, the promotion of new types of entertainment activities, and the promotion of voluntary activities for the elderly can be increased.

3.4.3. Service Platform Construction

The construction of the service system of the learning community is to give full play to the connectivity and convenience of the network, and to optimize the service path through the construction of online and offline service platforms. In the construction of learning communities, with the help of network advantages, service portals for different stakeholders, such as APP, WeChat official account, and data terminals, are established. First of all, it is convenient for different users to use, especially when the main user is the elderly, a series of interface interaction designs are required; second, it helps managers to manage conveniently and facilitate government supervision; finally, to make use of the spread of the network to attract more People are concerned about the social integration of the elderly in the mining area, and provide a strong social welfare force for the development of activities.

4. Construction Strategy and System Construction of Learning Community

4.1. Learning Community Service System for the Elderly in Mining Areas

First of all, the relationship between the government and the elderly in mining areas is to provide better services for the elderly, to ensure convenience for the elderly, and to guarantee the quality of life of the elderly in the mining areas; the relationship with the community is to provide the community with the main capital flow. Building a learning community based on the foundation, including organizational construction, resource integration, etc.; the relationship with the elderly universities, enterprises, educational institutions and other tripartite institutions is to provide information supervision and management;


Figure 2. Service system.

Second, the elderly universities, educational institutions and enterprises cooperate with each other through material information circulation, and jointly connect with the community to provide the " learning community" with teaching resources for the elderly in the mining area. Through the enterprise to provide a cooperative trading platform, from the elderly universities, education Institutions and society recruit teachers and volunteers, and after corresponding learning and training, become staff members of the " learning community" to engage in educational activities for the elderly in the mining area. As an educational resource institution for the elderly, senior colleges should play a subjective role, give full play to the advantages of enterprises and educational institutions, connect communities, and form a community with senior colleges as the point and teachers as the line to unify the mining communities near the association. The grid form covers the entire mining area, forming a complete learning community education network in the mining area.

Enterprises, society and other non-profit public organizations provide auxiliary capital flow for the entire system. The capital flow composed of corporate donations, social fundraising, personal charity sponsorship, public welfare projects and other activities aimed at the social integration of the elderly in the mining area provides two ways for the system. Project funds are injected to ensure the establishment of learning communities.

There is a flow of information between the elderly in the mining area and the community. The elderly put forward their own learning needs, summarized by the community, docked with designers, and organized through the needs of the network platform to build different learning models corresponding to the needs of different communities, and provide corresponding teachers at the same time Strength and learning content: The relationship between the elderly in the mining area and the network platform is information flow. Through the information flow with the platform, they can also make demands and interact with other stakeholders.

The network information platform is an important fulcrum for the construction of a learning community. The platform connects all stakeholders and conducts material information flow under government supervision. Communities can use the platform to recruit. Under the learning needs of the elderly in different mining communities, they can conduct online and offline recruitment activities to connect with senior universities, society, and educational institutions. After recruitment is completed, teachers and volunteers will pass through University for the Elderly, Non-profit organizations and educational institutions receive targeted training designated by the information platform to become relevant service personnel; the donation activities of enterprises, society, non-profit organizations, etc. will be under the supervision of the government to ensure the transparent flow of funds and communities, and conduct regular platforms Publicity; the service personnel of the platform constantly optimize the system based on the relevant suggestions of stakeholders.

4.2. Construction Strategy

4.2.1. Supply Side

a. Clarification of Relevant Regulations

Strengthen the standardization of senior education management in mining areas, clarify various regulations, universities for the elderly, educational institutions, and communities should strictly select and hire community senior education teachers. At the same time, corresponding incentive mechanisms and operating mechanisms should be established to encourage more volunteers to join Community senior education.

b. Design of Learning Content

First of all, in terms of methods, choose a variety of learning methods and content that are familiar to the elderly and meet the teaching goals to reduce operational obstacles and cognitive conflicts[7]. According to the actual situation, design interactive learning activities, in the content of the course, we must fully consider the actual interests of the elderly in the mining area. The education content closely meets the goals of the elderly in the mining area. The learning purpose of elderly learners is to maintain physical and mental health, improve the quality of life, and realize the value of life. Therefore, it focuses on teaching the knowledge content of health, life skills and entertainment activities that the elderly in mining areas prefer.

c. Roles and Teamwork

In the system construction of the learning community for the elderly in the mining area, the elderly as the main part of the system and activities, their main role must be reflected. First of all, in the construction of the system, based on the top-down system framework, the elderly give full play to their subjective initiative, based on different cultural levels, thinking modes, experience and experience, etc., according to the needs of learning activities and their own knowledge system Under the guidance of the system builder, determine the conceptual direction of learning activities. Under the guidance of the general direction of the concept, the elderly express their creative ideas, such as learning activities that conform to the regional characteristics of Shanxi. The elderly in the learning community in mining areas, according to their own knowledge system level and ability, through their own registration or recommendation by others, through teamwork, constitute a systematic internal responsible team of the community, through collaborative research and teamwork, discuss and build together, and constantly improve learning The bottom-up system will greatly promote the participation enthusiasm of the elderly.

d. Establish a Scholarship Mechanism

In order to stimulate the learning enthusiasm and motivation of the elderly, the establishment of a scholarship mechanism for the elderly and the display norms of the elderly participants learning contributions. As the builder of the system and the main participant of learning activities, the results of every elderly person should be displayed intuitively, including the role of system construction and the display of the results of learning efforts, which will not only stimulate activity participants Motivation will also promote the centripetal force of the system and make the system continue to develop. For the different contributions of the elderly, a scholarship mechanism and different recognition mechanisms are set up. The scholarship mechanism is used to award scholarships to the elderly who have made outstanding contributions to the construction of the system and have made significant progress in their studies. After the community’s internal selection and award certificates, the outstanding works of learning are connected to other communities through the elderly university to conduct outstanding works competitions, and the outstanding works Recognition methods such as rewards or professional commendations stimulate the motivation of participants.

e. Volunteer Activities

The organization of volunteer activities returns the learning achievements of the elderly to the society. First, elders with excellent academic performance and outstanding abilities can continue to study to form a voluntary group for the education of senior citizens, and after training they can be lecturers in universities for the elderly or other educational organizations; second, senior citizens with outstanding organizational capabilities can form a voluntary learning community The service group assists community management services and helps more elderly people enjoy the help of learning communities; finally, volunteers for scenic spots service are formed for the elderly who have outstanding learning ability and intend to go out to serve. As a resource-transformed city, Datong City is an important direction in recent years to develop tourism. The elderly can explain the landscape with their own life experience and knowledge, which can not only attract tourists better, but also enable the elderly to make their own contributions.

4.2.2 The Perspective of the Elderly

a. Establish a Correct View of Old Age

Due to the various characteristics of the elderly in the mining area, the elderly in the mining area often have a lower level of demand for community elderly education. The negative and wrong view of old age formed by the old people in mining areas under the traditional concept needs to be corrected, and old age life should not be separated from society. According to the concept of active aging” [8] put forward by the World Health Organization, the healthy old-age care for the elderly not only refers to physical health, but also includes the ability of the elderly to continue participating in economic, social and spiritual civilization construction activities. The achievement of these goals requires the elderly to actively participate in the society, exert their abilities and make their contributions to the country, society, and family. Facing the huge psychological gap brought about by the transformation of social roles, we must treat it with a correct perspective. Summarize your work life, analyze your own abilities, actively participate in social life and community education, continuously improve the abilities of the elderly, form active and healthy retirement habits, continue to explore your own potential and realize your own value.

b. Give Full Play to Subjective Initiative

Subjective initiative is a decisive factor in whether the elderly can actively integrate into society. The main scope of activities for the elderly in the mining area is in the community. The construction of a learning community. The elderly are not only participants, but also organizers of the learning community. Only by exerting their subjective initiative can the elderly actively integrate into the society and realize their value. For example, in learning communities, the elderly aged organize education team, the establishment of elderly volunteer service team. It is not only necessary to activate community education activities, but also to provide corresponding assistance to the elderly who have difficulties in life. As the main body of the learning community, the elderly should participate in all aspects of community education, such as the prescribed designation and the arrangement of courses, through their own experience design to meet the learning content of the elderly themselves. At the same time, you can act as a manager, worker, and leader of the service system, give full play to your own subjective initiative, establish a community education service system, and continue to make positive contributions to the country and society. Under the premise of developing themselves, the elderly help each other, Actively integrate into society.

4.2.3. Social Support

a. Increase Publicity and Create a Good Atmosphere for the Elderly

At present, the problem of social isolation of the elderly in mining areas is serious, and the social participation of the elderly in mining areas has a strong passivity and dependence. Strong social support has a significant impact on the quality and quality of the water products of the social integration of the elderly. The first thing that social support must do is to create a good public opinion environment for the social participation of the elderly in mining areas, assist in helping the elderly expand the social support network, and improve the level and quality of social participation. The full understanding and care of the society is an important basis for the social participation of the elderly in mining areas.

The elderly in the mining area are a special group of the elderly. How to help them integrate into the society closely and realize their value in life requires extensive support from the society, the government, and the family. A large number of misunderstandings and concepts in society have brought a lot of spiritual burden to the elderly in mining areas to participate in society. [9] For example, discrimination against the physical and psychological aging of the elderly, etc., all require the correct orientation of public opinion, and full affirmation and support for the elderly’s social participation behavior. Strengthen the promotion of the awareness of the elderly as a social development resource. On the one hand, we must start from the perspective of the elderly themselves to stimulate the elderly’s motivation for social participation; on the other hand, create a suitable social public opinion environment, which requires extensive publicity and guidance throughout the society. To create an atmosphere that respects the rights of the elderly to participate in society. A good social atmosphere will greatly promote the social participation motivation of the elderly in the mining area, stimulate the positive social participation concept of the elderly, and enhance the awareness of social participation of the elderly in the mining area.

b. Material Support

The community provides space for the elderly to carry out collective activities, and the construction of a learning community is inseparable from material support. In terms of material support for social support, one is to provide support for the construction of a learning community for the elderly; the other is to build a social communication platform on the basis of the community. Actively promote the construction of learning communities, provide social integration activities and opportunities to the door of the elderly, and provide diversified ways and methods for the elderly in mining areas to participate in society. This is the most realistic and feasible way to promote the participation of the elderly in society. The different learning needs of the elderly determine the diversity of learning activities for the elderly. By organizing and designing various learning activities for the elderly, it can not only enrich the lives of the elderly, but also bring them subjective well-being while meeting the communication needs of the elderly. The elderly are the main participants in the elderly education in the community, and the active development of community education activities for the elderly is the cornerstone and carrier of promoting the social integration of the elderly in mining areas.

5. Conclusions

The elderly in mining areas are the product of the dual background of aging and urbanization. The special environmental background and occupational characteristics have led to the problem of social integration among these elderly people. The elderly are themselves disadvantaged groups due to aging. How to solve the problem of social integration of the elderly in mining areas and construct service design through learning communities will bring possibilities for problem solving. Aiming at the role characteristics and needs of the elderly in mining areas, build a " learning community" on the basis of the community. By designing all links of the " learning community" for the elderly in mining areas, learning activities are used to promote the elderly' s social participation behavior and improve their social participation Improve the quality of life of the elderly and integrate closely with society.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this article.


© 2017 by the authors. Licensee International Technology and Science Press Limited. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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