What Is Andragogy and Its Effects on Today’s Design of Learning for Adults?

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What is Andragogy and its Effects on Today’s Design of Learning for Adults?

Tugce Nida Sevin

What is Andragogy and its Effects on Today’s Design of Learning for Adults?

Education of adults has always been an issue, but there has been very little interest or analysis of adult learning. Adults were thought to be children alike, when it comes to learning; therefore, the only theory was pedagogy in the educational setting. According to Knowles (1980), after the end of World War I, more modern education theories on adults were developed. Thorndike’s, Sorenson’s, and Linderman’s studies showed that adults learn differently than children, also their interests and abilities differ. Those studies affirmed that, in adult education, the curriculum should be built around the student’s interest instead of student adjusting themselves to it (Aderinto, 2006). With the light of these studies, the basis of more recent adult learning theories emerged. Adult learning differs; therefore, the design of learning for adult education should be adjusted to more recent theories. In 1968, Malcolm Knowles proposed andragogy, the adult learning theory to distinguish adult education from children education, pedagogy (Merriam, 2001). Knowles is the father of andragogy and according to him (1980), it means “the art and science of helping adults learn”. In the second half of the twentieth century, Malcolm Shepherd Knowles was one of the most influential persons in adult education in the US. He was the Executive Director of the Adult Education Association of the United States of America (Smith, 2002). He worked on informal adult education and also developed the first foundations of grounds for adult learning through andragogy. In his twenties, Knowles met Eduard Lindeman, while he was working for the National Youth Administration in Massachusetts, and he became his mentee. Knowles acknowledges that Lindeman’s Meaning of Adult Education was his main source for...
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