Adult Learning Theory: Andragogy

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Adult Learning Theory: Andragogy

The dispute of how adults learn is an ever developing subject matter since the 1920’s when adult learning became a professional field of practice (Merriam, S., 2001). Questions such as, do adults learn differently from children? Are adults able to learn quicker, independently, or in the same environment? These are just some examples of a multitude of questions that have been raised since scientists began investigating Adult Learning. I intend to clarify some of the misconceptions of adult learning through proven scientific research and writings of experts in the field. First, we will summarize the evolution of the concept of Adult Learning. Second, we will examine several recognized Adult Learning Theories. Third, we shall explore the Philosophies of education' class='brand-secondary'>Adult Education and finally, we will consider how technology affects life-long learners. To understand how adult learning evolved, we will need to explore how it all got started and which scientist established the term Andragogy.

In 1928, Thorndike, Bregman, Tilton, and Woodyard’s study of adult education produced the book Adult Learning which is attributed as the first systematic controlled research on the concept of adult learning. They utilized the behavioral psychological approach of testing to answer the question of whether adults can learn. Later, scientists investigated the differences between adolescent learning versus adult learning; this early research seemed to indicate that younger people learned significantly more than adults. (Lorge 1944, 1947) contradicted earlier findings by highlighting the fact that environmental factors such as previous education and experiences affected the way adults would answer certain questions. ...

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...Review of Educational Research, 14(4), 438-443.

Lorge, I. (1947). Intellectual Changes during Maturity and Old Age. Review of Educational Research, 17(5), 326-330.

Merriam, S. (2001). Andragogy and Self-Directed Learning: Pillars of Adult Learning. New

Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2001(89), 3-13.

O’Bannon, T., & McFadden, C. (2008). Model of Experimental Andragogy: Development of Non-Traditional Experimental Learning Program Model. Journal of Unconventional Parks. Tourism & Recreational Research, 1(1), 23-28.

Thorndike, E.L., Bregman, E.O., Tilton, J.W., and Woodyard, E. (1928). Adult Learning. New York: Macmillan

Wang, V. (2011). Assessing and Evaluating Adult Learning in Career and Technical Education. IGI Global.

Whitehead, A.N. (Ed.). (1978). Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology (corrected ed.). New York: Free Press, Macmillan.

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