Three Essential Warnings For Trainers Applying Andragogy - Adult Learning
Unfortunately, many trainers have limited contact with and understanding of how people learn, outside of their exposure to adult learning theory and androgogy.
While we should respect the work of Knowles and others, their "theories" are often not theories at all, and are more about the "ideal" learner, than how adults function and learn. There are a number of cogent critiques of the various theories (see below), but the advice we can offer budding trainers is to go as far beyond Androgogy, and seek out exposure to cognitive science research, and even text books that take a much broader, and comprehensive approach to learning.
In other words, the more one can look at the learning process from multiple models and use multiple theories, the more effective you will be. Using only one model means you will certainly be losing opportunities to improve learning in your training offerings.
Three Things Trainers Must Know About Adult Learning
- Adult learning theory describes the "ideal" adult learner, self-motivated, self-directed, etc. More often than not in any training group you will find a few of these "ideal learners", and a number of people who are not behaving according to adult learning theory. This can be shocking for trainers (see below).
- While adult learning would lead you to believe that adults behave "like adults" during training, if you are in the profession long enough, you'll come across adults that act...well, like children, and your surprise at this can cause you to act inappropriately in handling poor adult learner behavior. I've seen adults fly paper airplanes, read newspapers, chat with others, all things that are disruptive to others and need to be handled by group leaders.
- One tenet of adult learning is that participants need to be involved in determining the learning outcomes, and while it's always valuable to base instruction on their expressed needs, in many training contexts there is material that MUST be covered. Remember that adults, too, don't always know what they don't know and don't always know what they need to know. For this reason trainers need to explain the WHY's of learning specific content.
The Bottom Line For Trainers
Be prepared for adult learners to act inappropriately. and in ways that don't "fit' the stereotypes of adults learners.
Top : Adult Learning and Andragogy :
Andragogy, or adult learning is the dominant model for many trainers, but unfortunately, while popular, its principles are not as universal or applicable as might seem the case on the surface. Here we'll cover the basics of adult learning with a view to correcting misconceptions and exercising critical thinking.
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Here's a nice infographic of the assumptions and practices of angragogy as laid out by Malcom Knowles Hits: 633 )
This research study investigates how literacy practitioners learn about research results and then apply those findings to their own practice. Read it to learn about practitioners' varying relationships to research or use it as a clear template for how a research report can be structured. Hits: 716 )
Our western model of andragogy treats all adults similarly, but it does break down when applying it to people from other cultures. That makes sense, but it's often ignored. This article talks about adult learners from different cultures. Hits: 742 )
This article, written by Malcolm Knowles, will resonate with most adults, but here's the thing. As you read this, ask yourself this: Is this a philosophy about adults "should" learn, or a description of how adults REALLY learn. That's the critical issue when it comes to the application of adult learning principles. Hits: 973 )
Some simple, but good tips and advice on how to become and stay a life long learner. Hits: 1104 )
A little bit unfocused, but some excellent material about adult learning, and how people who were once considered non-traditional learners are actually in the majority. Hits: 704 )
Here's some advice for dealing with adult students who return to college after many years. Some adult students may display certain problems that make tutoring difficult. Here are some common situations, and tips to help elminate the problems. Hits: 664 )
This article appeared in the July/August 1994 issue of Hands-on English, and was one of our all-time, timeless hits! It includes tips from many different teachers. We're including the article here because it is so useful, and hope that you will find it inspiring. Hits: 860 )
Excellent balanced analysis of the history , strengths and weaknesses of Knowles' approach to adult learning. Hits: 983 )
Adult literacy, increased look at use of online earned credentials, and growth of online competency based instruction are the three adult learning trends discussed here. Hits: 638 )
Book excerpt that suggests ways to counteract adult learners who are not self-directed. Interesting for its practical value, but also because it really does point out that contrary to adult learning theory, not all adults are self-directed learners. Hits: 614 )
This article discusses different adult education options like four year universities and colleges, community colleges, trade schools or vocational schools and online education programs. Hits: 1533 )
Many books and articles about lifelong learning talk glibly about self direction. Too often this idea is seen as unproblematic - an obvious good. But things are not quite as they seem. Hits: 705 )
Now that we have four generations in the workplace, does that mean we need to look at differences between how the generations learn? This article suggests we need to meet different generational needs. Hits: 382 )
In 1920, Lindeman wrote about andragogy with Martha Anderson. They stated that andragogy was "the true method of adult learning" (as cited in Brookfield, 1987, p. 127). This was to become one of the most important concepts in the field of adult education. The theory of andragogy was further developed in the 1970s by Malcolm Knowles. Hits: 591 )
Research has clearly demonstrated that adults prefer to assume some responsibility for their own learning. However, some instructors and even some learners resist this notion for various reasons. This chapter presents a framework of micro components or aspects of the teaching and learning process to provide multiple opportunities for learners to make their own decisions. Hits: 611 )
Organizations with the best chance to succeed and thrive in the future are learning organizations. Find tips for how you can turn your organization into a learning organization here. Hits: 722 )
At most schools of education aspiring teachers are taught the elements of pedagogy %u2013 the art of teaching children. Many aspects of teaching adults are fundamentally different than those employed in teaching children and for this reason a new word gained currency in the late 20th century %u2013 andragogy. This article highlights the important principles in teaching adults and suggests how they can be applied to business training. Hits: 900 )
There are a variety of tech programs available for those seeking to gain professional knowledge and advancement. Along with tuition reimbursement many companies provide in-house training to their employees trying to keep their companies on the cutting edge. With the benefit of in-house training tech companies are finding themselves in the search for educational developers creating a whole new industry. Hits: 1685 )
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