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Tiffany S. Robinson

BUSN 333- Adult Learner

February 18, 2007


Andragogy was initially defined as "the art and science of helping adults learn". The term currently defines an alternative to pedagogy and refers to learner-focused education for people of all ages. A term originally used by Alexander Kapp in 1833 and later developed into a theory by Malcolm Knowles.

Knowles' theory was composed of several postulates, the first states that adults must be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction, next Knowles postulates that experience (including mistakes), provides the basis for learning activities. He then goes on to state that adults have the most interest in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their jobs or personal life, and finally he states that adult learning is problem centered as opposed to content oriented. Andragogy is a very broad subject and many theorists pose views on the adult learner.

Andragogy is based on four clerical assumptions about the characteristics of adult learners, as a person matures their self-concept moves from being a dependent personality to that of being a self directed human being. Adults accumulate a growing reservoir of experiences that become an increasing resource, and their readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the developmental tasks of their social roles. The time perspective for an adult changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application.

In summary andragogy moves towards independence, and is self directing. Andragogy supports using teaching methods that include problem solving and discussion. Unlike children who learn things they can apply later in life, adults learn materials to apply immediately



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