Andragogy Reflection: Malcom Knowles Essay

Andragogy Reflection: Malcom Knowles Essay

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Andragogy is the theory and practice of adult learning; the term “andragogy,” was coined by Malcolm Knowles in 1968 and is defined in its contrast to pedagogy, or the theory and practice of childhood learning. (Merriam, Cafarella, Baumgartner, 2007 p. 83-85) The principles of andragogy are founded on six basic assumptions; first, maturation leads to autonomy and self-direction; second, adulthood is characterized by previous experience and background knowledge; third, the capacity for adult learning is directly linked to the relevance of the learning in a social context; and fourth, adult learning takes place in relation to the problems solving application of the learning. Additionally, adult learners are intrinsically motivated and must have a purpose for learning. (Merriam, et al. 2007, p. 85) This “model of assumptions,” as Knowles called it, can be used to guide curriculum design for adult learners. (Merriam, et al 2007, p. 85) Educators of adult learners use the principles of andragogy to develop effective, goal-oriented curriculum. Learning happens as a result of experience; the tenets of andragogy can be used to create optimal learning experiences that are likely to engage the learner in authentic problem solving opportunities while engaging their background knowledge and past experience and with the goal of effectively applying the results of the learning experience to other, related problems in an independent setting. Adult learners benefit from best andragogical practices directly through metacognition and an understanding of the self and one’s own learning processes, and indirectly through optimally designed curriculum particularly suitable for adult learners. Fundamental to andragogy is a consideration of the...


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...itional assessment characterize a traditional learning environment. The assumptions of andragogy, on the other hand, suggest that a positive learning environment will be respectful and engaging, will promote autonomy and self direction among learners, will incorporate learners’ background knowledge and experiences, will take into consideration the social role of the learner, will provide for problem solving opportunities and immediate application of knowledge, will meet a purpose and will promote the intrinsic motivation of the learner. I have found that the difference between an effective, adult - learning experience and an ineffective one can be characterized using the six assumptions of andragogy. There


Works Cited

Merriam, S., Caffarella, R., & Baumgartner, L. (2006). Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


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