Andragogy Learning Theory

androgogy definition
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Malcolm Knowles is an American educator who is well known for the use of the term Andragogy. He stated that Andragogy refers to any form of Adult Learning. Knowles’s theory contains five assumptions about the characteristics of adult learners that differ from the characteristics of child learners. There are also four principles of andragogy that are applied to adult learning.

The five assumptions of adult learners are:

1. Self-concept: As a person matures, his self-concept moves from one of being a dependent 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.

3. Readiness to learn: As a person matures, his readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the developmental tasks of his social roles.

4. Orientation to learning: As a person matures, his time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application, and accordingly, his orientation toward learning shifts from one of subject-centeredness to one of problem centredness.

5. Motivation to learn: As a person matures, the motivation to learn is internal. (1)

The four principles that are applied are:

1. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

2. Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for the learning activities.

3. Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance and impact to their job or personal life.

4. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented. (Kearsley, 2010)


deep diver Are you interested in learning more about Andragogy?
If so, check out the links and readings below!

The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles web article – (Links to an external site.)

 “Malcolm Knowles, Informal Adult Education, Self-Direction And Andragogy.” N. p., 2013. Web. 10 July 2019. (Links to an external site.)

Pratt, D. D. (1993). Andragogy after twenty-five years. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education1993(57), 15–23. (Links to an external site.)  or (Links to an external site.)


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