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Andragogy vs Pedagogy

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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 1921when Rosenstock argued that adult education required special teachers, methods and philosophy (Smith, 2010). Andragogy was first introduced to the United States in 1927 by Martha Anderson and Eduard Lindeman, but they did not attempt to develop the concept (Smith, 2010). In 1959, Malcolm Knowles expanded on the work of Eduard C. Lindeman. Extensive work by Knowles and other educators resulted in the development of new assumptions about adult learners.

The word pedagogy is much older than the word andragogy. “Pedagogy, as a word, first appeared in the mid- to late-1500s, in Middle French, and has roots in Latin and Greek” (Ozuah, 2005). The roots of pedagogy can be traced back to seventh century Europe during the introduction of organized education at monastic schools. The primary purpose for the establishment of these institutions was the induction of young men into the priesthood. The model of pedagogy first emerged at this time and was founded on several assumptions about learners (Ozuah, 2005). Malcolm Knowles is the father of andragogy as he proposed five factors involved in adult learning. The five assumptions underlying andragogy describe the adult learner as someone who: • Has an independent self-concept and who can direct his or her own learning • Has accumulated a reservoir of life experiences that is a rich resource for learning • Has learning needs closely related to changing social roles • Is problem-centered and interested in immediate application of knowledge • Is motivated to learn by internal rather than external factors (Merriam, 2011, p.5) Knowles used these principles to propose a program for the design, implementation and evaluation of adult learning. Since the development of his theory, Knowles has acknowledged that the principles he outlined did not apply solely to adult education. The development of the theory simply illustrates that the designer "should involve learners in as many aspects of their education as possible and in the creation of a climate in which they can most fruitfully learn" (Merriam, 2011, p.7). Knowles' main focus with the development of andragogy was the notion of the material being very learner centered and the learner being very self-directed. Pedagogy Malcolm Knowles is the father of andragogy as he proposed five factors involved in adult learning. The five assumptions underlying pedagogy describe the learner as someone who: • The learner is dependent upon the instructor for all learning • The instructor assumes full responsibility for what is being taught • The instructor assumes full responsibility for how it is learned • The instructor evaluates learning • Is motivated to learn by external factors Pedagogical assumptions made about learning and learners were based on observations by the monks in teaching simple skills to children (Findsen, 2010). These assumptions were further adopted and reinforced with the spread of elementary schools throughout Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries. When educational psychologists started scientifically studying learning around the Geraldine Holmes and Michele Abington-Cooper turn of the 20th century, they limited their research mostly to the reactions of children and animals to systematic instruction (Findsen, 2010). One of the benefits of andragogy learning style is adults know why they are learning something and able to see how it fits into their immediate situation. Adults have a specific need for the information they are learning as it pertains to their role within their life, and they want to feel like they are in charge of their learning. Another benefit is the opportunity to learn not just from the course materials but from the students in the course. Adults bring a wealth of experiences and knowledge to the learning environment and can share it freely and timely.

One of the benefits of pedagogy learning style is that the instructor focuses on teaching the children life preparing knowledge and they focus on the well-being of the child. Children need a structured environment and pedagogy gives this to them. The instructor decides in advance what is going to be taught, decides how it is going to be taught, and then develops a plan for presenting it to the students. Another benefit is the instructor supports the child in their mental and social development. Pedagogy is the more of learning as a teacher. The art of teaching and instructional methods, pedagogy focuses a child-centered learning. Children rely on their instructors for all bases of learning with this learning style. Andragogy can be seen in the educational setting especially in online classes. Adult learners have already gone through the pedagogy stages as a child. But, as an adult learner they already have a knowledge base and need to obtain more knowledge. Adult learners want to be independent and direct their own learning. Andragogy learning style gives adult learners this opportunity by providing assignments and resources to help adult learners acquire information and skills. An example is the professor prepares a syllabus for the students to follow, student is expected to be responsible, independent in their learning and self - motivated to learn. Pedagogy can be seen in the administrative role when there is a need for training for new changes. Such as evidence based practice in the nursing field. When the core measures first came out there was no knowledge base so all the clinical staff had to be trained. The instructors had to decide in advance what needed to be taught, decides how it is going to be taught, and then develops a plan for presenting it to the clinical staff. The clinical staff depended on the instructor to teach them what they had to learn. The clinical staff had to rely on the instructor for all bases of the core measures so they could put it into practice. In conclusion, pedagogy can be used for children and adult learners. These two learning styles are situational and should be used based on the needs of the learner and the situation. Pedagogy and andragogy are problem centered and focus on details pertaining to the student’s background, experience, environment and situation. The goal should be the same for both learning styles; the learner should benefit the most, making the learning experience process more fun, exciting and challenging.

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K.. (2013). Adult Learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from:
Findsen, B. (2010). Comparative Adult Education 2008, Studies in Pedagogy, Andragogy and Gerontagogy, Volume 61. Studies in the Education of Adults. 42(2), 198-201. Retrieved from:
Gehring, T. (2010). A Compendium of Material on the Pedagogy-Andragogy Issue. Journal of Correctional Education. , 51(1), 151-163. Retrieved from:
Merriam, S. B. (2011). Andragogy and self-directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, v. 89, p. 3-14. Retrieved from:
Ozuah, P. O., (2005). First, There Was Pedagogy And Then Came Andragogy. Einstein Journal of Biology and Medicine 21(2), 83-87. Retrieved from:
Smith, M. K. (2010) ‘Andragogy’, the Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Retrieved from: thinking-about-adult-


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