Many people think that andragogy is a theory of adult learning, Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner in 2007 indicated that it is actually more of “an enduring model for understanding certain aspects of adult learning.” (p. 92). This “enduring model” is important to the study of adult learning, nevertheless, because it is one of the most well known, and was instrumental in a profound way in changing and improving the way people approach adult learning. Malcolm Knowles first introduced Andragogy in 1968 (Merriam, Caffarella, Baumgartner, 2007). The authors of the text also lay out six different “assumptions” or ways of the model, and those area as follows:
1. As a person matures, his or her self-concept moves from that of a dependent personality toward one of a self-directing human being.
2. An adult accumulates a growing reservoir of experience, which is a resource for learning.
3. The readiness of an adult to learn is closely related to the developmental tasks of his or her social role.
4. There is a change in time perspective as people mature—from future application of knowledge to immediacy of application. Thus an adult is more problem centered than subject centered in learning.
5. The most potent motivations are internal rather than external.
6. Adults want and need to know why they need to learn something.
Viewing a poor learning situation and using andragogy’s six assumptions as a lens for improving that situation can help educators of adult learners develop approaches for creating a better learning environment for students.
Traditional Learning Context
A traditional course, in a face-to-face setting that was based on business marketing, was poorly developed. The course had a professor who told the c...
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...heir experience is valued and that what they are doing has a direct application to their world. That was not the case in this particular lesson. Knowles’ andragogy might be what the book considers as a “an enduring model for understanding certain aspects of adult learning” and not a theory, but in this scenario, had the six aspects of it been considered in designing the lesson, much more learning would have taken place (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, p. 92).
Chan, S. (2010). Applications of andragogy in multi-disciplined teaching and learning.
Journal of Adult Education, 39(2), 25-35.
Henry, G. (2011). Malcolm Shepherd Knowles : A history of his thought. New York: Nova
Merriam, S., Caffarella, R., & Baumgartner, L. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive
guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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