This assignment will address andragogy – a theory of learning. To do this it will focus on the specific areas of andragogy and compare them to other theories of learning. The theory of andragogy has been around for nearly two centuries and the findings are particularly linked to the work of Malcolm Knowles. The judgements will be related to the experiences of students in higher education.
The theory of adult learning is a “dynamic area of research and theory building.” (Merriam, 2008 p2). Malcolm Knowles explains that “andragogy assumes that the point at which an individual achieves a self concept of essential self-direction is the point at which he psychologically becomes adult.” (As cited by Atherton J. S, 2005 p1). Knowles (1970) sees andragogy as a contrast to pedagogy (the teaching of children) which he says is a “teacher dominated form of education, long regarded as appropriate for children’s learning, and [andragogy] a learner-centred one, now viewed as particularly relevant for non-traditional adult learners.” (Bartle, 2008 p1). Knowles explains andragogy to be the “art and science of helping adults learn” (as cited by Bartle, 2008 p1). He also argues that “adults were self-directed, problem solving learners whose life experience constituted a significant learning resource. Thus instead of the traditional hierarchical relationship between the teacher and pupil, the adult learner participates fully in his or her education, influencing the curriculum and determining learning objectives.”(Bartle, 2008 p1) Knowles’ assumptions are based around five key facts:
1. Self-concept: as a person matures his concept moves from one of being a dependant personality toward one of being a self-directed human being
2. Experience: As a person matures he accumulates a growing reservoir of experience that becomes an increasing resource for learning.
Bibliography: Brockbank, A and McGill, I (1998) Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education. Buckingham: SHRE/Open University Press. Mortimore, P (1999) Understanding Pedagogy and its Impact on Adult Learning. London:Chapman. Payne, E (2000) Developing Essential Study Skills. London; prentice Hall.