Premium Essay

Adult Learning Theory: Andragogy

In: Other Topics

Submitted By strips4sushi
Words 1656
Pages 7

Adult Learning Theory: Andragogy

Jonathan S. Ponce

American Public University System

Author Note

Jonathan Ponce for COLL 100, American Public University System, taught by Instructor Anthony Underhill



The andragogy theory can best be defined as the art and science of helping adults learn. This paper will explore exactly what the andragogy theory is and how it differs from pedagogy. A few examples of earlier andragogy strategies used in adult education were group discussions, interviews, and joint problem solving sessions. Now a days we see online tools such as discussion forums and blogs being used online to promote learning among adult learners. Simply put, andragogy is an organized and sustained effort to assist adults to learn in a way that enhances their capacity to function as self directed learners. ( Mezirow 1981) But does this method really only apply to adults? Could it be used by the younger learners before they reach adulthood? Is either method greater or more efficient than the other? Though mostly seen as a useful tool in adult education, studies into andragogy have shown that there are flaws within the core principles that conflict with its purpose of being a more effective adult learning method, and as of today, the search for an efficient educational theory is ongoing.

Keywords: andragogy, pedagogy



In the 1830's, a German teacher and editor by the name of Alexander Kapp introduced the term andragogy. The term was used to...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Andragogy vs Pedagogy

...Andragogy vs Pedagogy Andragogy vs Pedagogy Today, there are many ways to obtain an education. Before, students obtained their education through sitting in a classroom in schools, colleges or universities. Now, obtaining ones education may be done by home schooling and online classes. The changes in the education system have led to the development of many teaching methods. Two major and common methods of teaching are andragogy and pedagogy. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast andragogy and pedagogy. “Andragogy is the process of engaging adult learners in the structure of the learning experience” (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith. 2013). In simple words, it is the art and science of helping adults learn. This learning experience consists of different methods and strategies to assist adult humans in obtaining their education. Pedagogy is the connection of the teaching by the teacher, to the learning of a child student (Gehring, 2010). Thus, pedagogy literally means the art and science of teaching children. This is the most dominant form of teaching and referred to as the traditional, teacher-directed approach. “Andragogy is a newer word that was coined in the 1800s by Alexander Knapp, a German educator, and popularized in the 1960s by Malcolm Knowles, an American educator whose focus was on adult education” (Findsen, 2010). It fell into disuse and didn’t reappear until......

Words: 1420 - Pages: 6

Free Essay


...------------------------------------------------- Andragogy From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia An•dra•go•gy [an-druh-goh-jee, -goj-ee] Andragogy consists of learning strategies focused on adults. It is often interpreted as the process of engaging adult learners with the structure of learning experience. The term ‘andragogy’ has been used in different times and countries with various connotations. Nowadays there exist mainly three understandings: 1. In many countries there is a growing conception of ‘andragogy’ as the scholarly approach to the learning of adults. In this connotation andragogy is the science of understanding (= theory) and supporting (= practice) lifelong and lifewide education of adults. 2. Especially in the USA, ‘andragogy’ in the tradition of Malcolm Knowles, labels a specific theoretical and practical approach, based on a humanistic conception of self-directed and autonomous learners and teachers as facilitators of learning. 3. Widely, an unclear use of andragogy can be found, with its meaning changing (even in the same publication) from ‘adult education practice’ or ‘desirable values’ or ‘specific teaching methods,’ to ‘reflections’ or ‘academic discipline’ and/or ‘opposite to childish pedagogy’, claiming to be ‘something better’ than just ‘Adult Education’. The oldest document using the term "Andragogik": Kapp, Alexander (1833): Platon's Erziehungslehre, als Pädagogik für die Einzelnen und als Staatspädagogik. Leipzig. Originally used......

Words: 469 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay


...Authentic Tasks Report On Andragogy For Human Resource Manager At Google Nathan Puljic 07/04/2014 4057624 Executive Summary Within this report I will be covering the basis of adult learning, other wise known as andragogy. It will be based upon me recently working in a HR graduate position at the Google office in Sydney. I will be covering what andragogy actually means and the types of principles of learning that are suggested by this theory by Malcolm Knowles. Then I shall be writing suggestions on how the Google training manager could use the principles of the theory andragogy in skills training at Google, on the principles they have yet to introduce in their training. Finally I will list four references that I will recommend to the HR manager at Google that I found gave me a better understanding of andragogy. Introduction Learning is "a relatively permanent change in behaviour (or behaviour potential) resulting from one's experiences" (Delahaye, 2011: 31). When adults are learning, we call this andragogy. As we already should know, adults learn vastly different to how children learn (pedagogy). There are many key differences in the learning department when comparing children to adults, such as instead of asking what, adults would ask why. Andragogy is a theory that holds a set of assumptions about how adults learn and it......

Words: 2322 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay


...Journal Entry The adult learning theory of andragogy is based on a number of assumptions about the adult learner. As adults mature the self-concept change from being a dependent personality to be self- directed. Self-directed allows adults to participate in the diagnosis of their learning needs. Also as adults we bring valuable life experiences to the table which results to being a rich resource of learning. The social role is related to the readiness of the developmental degree of the adult and changes takes place as a person matures. The motivation that one experience is internal rather that external and there is relevance as to why one feels one must learn something. The classroom has to be an atmosphere where it is physically and psychologically appropriate for adults. The climate should allow adults to feel accepted, respected, and supported and there should be spirit of maturity between teacher and student as joint inquirers. The real life experience that has enabled me to make meaning of the andragogy theory is pursuing my master’s degree in education. First I had to make up my mind and realize that I have matured in a way of prioritizing my time and being responsible for making my schedule and taking ownership in my education. After making up my mind and realizing that I needed to pursue this next step I had to motivate myself. It is not easy when I am use to having my parents and my husband to help keep me motivated. So as the result of both parents and my husband...

Words: 539 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

A Comparison of Andragogy to Pedagogy

...A Comparison of Andragogy to Pedagogy Before the differences between Andragogy and Pedagogy can be examined a working definition of both needs to be established. Pedagogy is derived from the Greek words paid and agogus, which translates to the art and science of teaching children (Sarapin and Bertoline, 2000). Pedagogy is in actuality the study of being a teacher, the process of teaching, and the correct use of instructional strategies (“Pedagogy,” 2011). Pedagogy helps teachers understand the role of learning theory in the design and function of class activities (Okojie, Olinzock, and Okojie-Boulder, 2006). Pedagogy evolved in 7th and 12th century schools of Europe and its foundational theories about learning and learners are based on observations of monks teaching simple skills to children. These ideas were further adopted and reinforced in 18th and 19th century Europe and North America elementary schools. Even in the beginning stages of the scientific study of learning around the turn of the 20th century, research was limited to mostly the reactions of children. Because of this pedagogy evolved into a learning model predominately for the education of pre-adults (Holmes and Abington-Cooper, 2000). In the early 20th century when adult education began emerging, teachers of adults began seeing problems with the pedagogical model. One of the biggest problems was that pedagogy proposes that the purpose of education was the transmittal of knowledge and skills through......

Words: 1648 - Pages: 7

Free Essay


...ANDRAGOGY Merriam and Caffarella (1991) pointed out, Knowles conception of andragogy is an attempt to build a comprehensive theory (or model) of adult learning that is set in the characteristics of adult learners (as cited in Smith,2002,pg.1) Dr Malcolm Knowles was one of the early advocates of continuing professional development. The educational term andragogy was coined by Dr. Knowles. Dr. Knowles focused on finding a coherent and comprehensive theory of adult learning. He felt that the center point should form informal links between people, believing that people could learn a lot from others. Knowles developed the term into a set of principles designed to encourage adult learners to move from dependency to self-directedness. He also believed adult learners could draw upon their reservoir of experience for learning. He also acknowledged that adult learners are ready to learn, when they assume new roles. They want to solve problems, and apply new knowledge immediately (Margerison, 2005). Accordingly, Knowles adult facilitators should set a cooperative learning climate. Adult learners could also create mechanisms for mutual planning and arrange for a diagnosis of learner needs and interests. This would enable the formulation of learning objectives based on the diagnosed needs and interests of the learners. According to Smith (1999),”The facilitators would then design sequential activities for achieving the objectives, execute the design by selecting methods,......

Words: 740 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Edu500 Planning and Training

... instructional strategies, and assistance in the classroom. Lesson planning help instructors create a smooth instructional flow and relate instructions to learners. Adults participate in continuing professional development for a number of reasons. With most adults is the need to maintain and/or improve current skills and abilities that are relevant to ones job. The reasons for participation are generally external to traditional academic expectations, such as fulfilling degree requirements. As such, developing instructional materials for adults requires a deeper level of understanding of the motivations, needs, and reasons behind their participation in a learning environment. The purpose of this guide is to provide curriculum developers and teachers of adults with information leading to a more balanced understanding of how and why adults learn, the rationale behind course development methods and techniques for this audience, and information on the learning process itself. Fundamental principles of critical thinking essential to lesson plan development and the learning process of adults, is included. Programs aimed at teaching adults are a multibillion dollar enterprise that outspends combined expenditures of elementary, high, and post-secondary schools. The sheer number and types of programs aimed at adult continuing education...

Words: 2144 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Adult Learning Theory Final

...related to students who are presently involved in any type of formal education, reveals that the numbers of adults in the search for education is rapidly rising. Statistics also show the reasons that drive adults to enroll in adult education as well as the advantage and or disadvantage they possess over a younger person. To develop a more adequate adult learning system, the federal and the states governments, have united efforts to come up with satisfactory methods of approaching adult educational environment, which would aid education institutions and teachers to develop styles to support adults to reach their educational goals. In an attempt to explain the reasons an adult seeks to achieve a higher cultural level, the essayist is going to summarize the perception from different scholars. Follow by the author’s personal experience in the field and seal the writing with the writer’s personal reflection on the discussed theme. The technological advances from the present digital era have engendered the need for highly trained laborers. Presently, jobs for unskilled workers are scarce, while trained labors have a considerable demand. This phenomenon triggered the individual interest on adults to seek for a better education. Besides the highly competitive rate from the contemporary operational forces, there are other peripheral compels, such as parenthood that urge the adult population to hunt for a better education, (Dorch, B.; 2012.) Durch explains, that by “September 2009,......

Words: 1526 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Learning Styles

...have a different learning style such as visual, auditory or kinesthetic, but everyone has a dominant one. When a person is learning he or she uses the learning style that is suitable for them. There is a tool called VARK- A guide to learning by Neil D. Fleming that can determine which learning style each person prefers. According to the VARK (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic) system questionnaire I scored Visual: 9, Aural: 3, Read/Write: 7 and Kinesthetic 9 and was considered a multimodal learner which is someone who has multiple preferences. As stated in the VARK learning styles 60% of the population fits this category. The learning style I prefer is kinesthetic. Throughout my career in military law enforcement I was able to learn many different ways, but I learned faster and retained more for a longer period of time if I can see what I am doing and having the hands on approach. I believe being able to do it yourself or having the chance to be more hands on with the problem can help the person get a far better understanding. My other preferred style is Visual. This style will benefit me because it helps me to have a visual of what I need in order to understand. Andragogy is a model of adult learning and education developed by Malcolm Knowles. Knowles' theory of andragogy is an attempt to develop a theory specifically for adult learning. Knowles emphasizes that adults are self-directed and expect to take responsibility for decisions. Andragogy makes......

Words: 586 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Adult Learner

...Title: Humanist and Behavioral Traditions EDU 528: Methods of Teaching in Adult Education Professor: Helen Mc Eachin Ladreine E. Price Date: 12 May 2012 Strayer University Although Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980) was looked upon as a patriarch of cognitive theories during his time, his interest in human thinking worked towards evaluating results of children intelligence tests as he tracked relationships between their ages and what types of mistakes were made. Absorbed with this information, he realized that different mistakes are made predictably by and within a certain age group which then forced his attention into what was found. With his observations, he concluded that children were not less intelligent than adults, but they actually think differently. Santrock, John W. (2008) Piaget established what is now known as the Cognitive theory, a behaviorism theory that applies emphasis to structure and development of individuals thought processes; as with memory, decision making and resolution, from youth to adulthood. Piaget, J. (1990) Piaget described key processes used by individuals in its attempt to become accustom to: assimilation and accommodation. Both of these processes are used throughout life as the person increasingly adapts to the environment in a more complex manner. Assimilation is the process of using or transforming the environment so that it can be placed in preexisting cognitive structures. Accommodations are the processes of changing cognitive......

Words: 1301 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

How Adults Learn

...Kathryn Nivins Module 1 Assignment How Adults Learn The study of adult learning has been a major focus of educators since the 1920s. Prior to the post war era, there was very little debate regarding the learning differences between adults and children. Pedagogy is the study of teaching/education with a primary focus on theory instruction. This structure base for educators was a widely accepted practice for all levels and student types. Malcolm Knowles developed a theory in his MA thesis that challenged the ideas of pedagogy with respect to adult students. His thesis focused on the learner rather than the teaching method. The main idea was that the learning process differs greatly between children and adults for a variety of reasons. This idea was further refined in future books written by Knowles in the 1970s and he coined the idea with the word “andragogy” or the “adult focused teaching approach”. [1] The characteristics that define this new approach are: a need to know, experience, readiness, applicability, and motivation. Throughout this essay, I will discuss the characteristics of adult learning as defined by Knowles and identify the differences for each of these qualities with respect to the learning process for children. The first quality that Knowles identified is that adults are “self-directed” or need to be engaged in what they are learning. Most adults that have returned to the classroom are there most likely by choice. They are engaged in the classes...

Words: 1734 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Adult Learning Theories

...There is no single explanation or all-encompassing theory that explains how adults learn. The adult learning process is complex, context bound, and highly personal. As a result, there is no single theory of learning that can be applied to all adults. Instead, the literature of the past century has yielded a variety of models, sets of assumptions and principles, theories, and explanations that make up the adult learning knowledge base. The more adult educators are familiar with this knowledge base, the more effective their practice can be, and the more responsive it can be to the needs of adult learners. This fact sheet reviews three major theories and discusses their implications for practice. What is Andragogy? In attempting to document differences between the ways adults and children learn, Malcolm Knowles (1980) popularized the concept of andragogy (“the art and science of helping adults learn”), contrasting it with pedagogy (“the art and science of teaching children”). He posited a set of assumptions about adult learners, namely, that the adult learner • Moves from dependency to increasing self-directedness as he/she matures and can direct his/her own learning; • Draws on his/her accumulated reservoir of life experiences to aid learning; • Is ready to learn when he/she assumes new social or life roles; • Is problem-centered and wants to apply new learning immediately; and • Is motivated to learn from internal, rather than external, factors. Inherent in these assumptions......

Words: 1656 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Staff Development Project Summary

...Staff Development Project Summary In today’s environment of exponential advancements in knowledge and technology, a concept known as the learning organization (LO) is becoming increasingly important to health care institutions (Marquis & Huston, 2012). The LO philosophy embraces the importance of learning as a continuous process and emphasizes that in order for hospitals to adapt to changes in the environment and be successful, they must create staff development programs. Nurse educators are the primary hospital resource for generating such educational programs. This summary will describe the steps to follow when planning an effective staff development program, which include assessing learning needs, selecting a learning theory, developing learning objectives, presenting learning content, and evaluating learning. Assessment of Learning Needs In order for the teaching-learning process to be effective, an assessment of learning needs must first occur (Kearney-Nunnery, 2012, pp. 162-176). Performing an analysis of learning needs will identify knowledge gaps and skill deficits and enable the educator to select the most relevant topics when creating staff development programs. Research has shown that questionnaires are a reliable method to collect this type of information (Doughty, 2012). To analyze and determine learning needs of nurses in the intensive care unit where I work, a questionnaire composed of two parts was used. The first part consisted of five......

Words: 1259 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Diversity Training

...Introduction In this paper, the role of HR Manager is assumed at a company that has recently received complaints from employees about a lack of inclusion. An overview for a training program on diversity and inclusion for your organization's first line supervisors will be presented. In addition to a plan for the types of exercises, role-playing, or activities that will maintain participant interest and enhance the learning outcome in the body of the training plan.  The utilization of both "Social Learning Theory" and "Adult Learning Theory" will be displayed in this training plan. Provide rationale for the activities and how they relate to the two learning theories. Lastly, I will discuss how this diversity training can modify employee morale, improve workforce inclusion, and lead to more managerial success.  Inclusion Methods Inclusion training plays an important role in creating the climate for a diverse workplace. It is important to ensure that everyone embraces inclusion. As an HR manager, if I was informed that an employee felt excluded I would seek improvement, accept feedback and listen to the concerns of all employees, there is always room for growth. A viable option for exclusion would include Team-building activities. Such activities provide an excellent opportunity that promotes employees interaction. Team building activities improve diversity with activities like picnics. I would consider holding a team-building exercise away from the office so that......

Words: 1172 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Adult Education and Globalisation

...GLOBALIZATION ON ADULT EDUCATION IN ONTARIO By MICHELLE P. SCOTT Integrated Studies Project submitted to Dr. Angela Specht in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts – Integrated Studies Athabasca, Alberta April, 2008 Abstract This project consists of two parts. The first section is a literature review of the following topics: Adult education, Ontario’s approach to Adult education, four different pedagogical approaches to Adult education (andragogy, self-directed learning, informal and incidental learning, and emotions and imagination), education and globalization. These areas were reviewed to identify key elements around Adult education, as well as for how contemporary globalization shapes Adult education. The second section is a research essay building off of the literature review. Andragogy, self-directed learning, informal and incidental learning and emotions and imagination were examined to determine if these adult education philosophies were being practiced in Ontario. Globalization’s impact is a force with widespread reach and implications. Education will be vital for survival in a global community. The effect of globalization on adult education in Ontario was investigated. The principles of andragogy, self-directed learning and informal and incidental learning are evident in Canadian and Ontario teaching practices; however, emotions and imagination are absent in this discourse. Michelle Scott MAIS 701 Adult......

Words: 11503 - Pages: 47