Adult learning

Topics: Education, Educational psychology, Adult education Pages: 17 (2873 words) Published: May 9, 2014
The University of Hong Kong
School of Professional and Continuing Education
Assignment/Coursework Submission Cover Sheet

Programme Name:
Graduate Diploma in Adult Education and Training
Module Name:
Foundation of Adult Education
Coursework Title:
Individual essay on adult education theory and learning
Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy
Lecturer Name:
Dr. B.K. Choy (Attention to Miss Charmaine Sung)
Student Name and ID:

10339688 Ng Hoi Hung
Date Submitted:
01 Mar 2014
I confirm that this assignment is my own work, is not copied from any other person’s work (published or unpublished), and that is has not previously been submitted for assessment on any other course.

Mark Awarded:
(For lecturer use only)

This paper work presents the summary of the most well known adult learning theory – Andragogy, explains how it accounts for the characteristics, patterns of learning, and motivation adopted by adult learners. Moreover, reflects on my own qualities and circumstance as an adult learner; critique the strengths and weaknesses of Andragogy.

Key Words
Andragogy, pedagogy, adult learning, education, training, adult learner, characteristics, motivation

All these years, the specialized field of education has generated a number of models and theories of adult learning, included transformation learning theory, experiential learning theory, informal learning theory…etc. And the most important one with which to be familiar is Malcolm Knowles’ Andragogy. Andragogy was described as the “art and science to teaching adults to learn” (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005). It also interpreted the foundation and structure of adult learning, the concept of andragogy has been worldwide used in different times with different connotations and seem as a bible of adult education.

The notion of andragogy has been around for nearby two centuries. It originally formulated by a German teacher, Alexander Kapp, in 1833 (Nottingham Andragogy Group 1983). He used “andragogy” to describe education theory. Andragogy literally means “man leading”, which contrasted with pedagogy (Since andr- is Latin for “man”, peda is Latin for “child” and agogus is Latin for “leading”). And later on, couple educators had used the term of “andragogy” in their article. It included Rosenstock in 1921; Lindeman wrote “The Meaning of Adult Education” in 1926. The notion of “Andragogy” was well developed, widely discussed and used in 1980 by Malcolm Shepherd Knowles, a champion of andragogy. Knowles first introduced the concept of in the US in 1968. With his previous work on informal adult education, Knowles used those elements of process and setting to construct the shape and direction of adult education. The concept he used to explain the theory of adult education was the notion of andragogy. “Malcolm Knowles, Informal adult education, self-direction and andragogy” (Jay-D Man, 2009). Knowles applied the idea of andragogy as the foundation of adult learning, he marked it as a new born technology which moderates the development and performance of adult learning. He posited six assumptions related to the adult learners: 1) Need to know, 2) self-concept, 3) experience, 4) readiness to learn, 5) orientation to learning , and 6) motivation to learn (Knowles, 1980)

Need to know
“Adults want to know why they need to learn something before undertaking to learn it” (Knowles, 2005). Adults are realist, they want to find out what is the advantage and the loss before they make decision to do something. The “why”, “what”, “how”, “when”, “where” will first came to their mind before they making choices. For example: A man find he needs to improve his academy standard to get a promotion at work, which is “why” he wants to continue learning; he will choices a subject related to his present career to learn, he knows “what” he needs to learn and...

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Andragogy how adults learn. (2013, October/November). Andragogy How Adults Learn. Retrieved from
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Crawford, S. R. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2014, from
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Illeris, K., & Andersen, V. (2004). Learning in working life. Frederiksberg: Roskilde University Press.
Ota, C., DiCarlo, C
Parry, S. B. (2000). Training for results: Key tools and techniques to sharpen trainer 's skills. Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training & Development.
Piskurich, G
Knowles, M.S., Holton, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (1998). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development (5th ed.). Houston, TX: Gulf.
Knowles, M. S. (1962). The adult education movement in the United States. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc.
Knowles, M.S. (1969). Higher education in the United States: The current picture, trends, and issues. Washington D.C.: American Council on Education.
Knowles, M.S. (1970). The modern practice of adult education; Andragogy versus pedagogy. New York: Association Press.
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