Andragogy refers to the various strategies used to enhance teaching and learning among adults (Boshier 87). The strategies are often aimed at engaging the adult learners. The students are given the opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of their learning experience. Andragogy is important for both adult learners and teachers.
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The main reason behind this is that adults and children learn variously. Adult learners can easily understand the concepts taught if the instructor uses the appropriate teaching strategies. The teacher is able to communicate with the students in a manner that they can easily understand and relate with.
As such, andragogy ensures that learning outcomes are met among adult students. In this paper, I will provide a comparison between Knowles’ six assumptions of adult learning and traditional teaching. I will discuss the benefits of Knowles andragogy from the perspective of an adult learner.
The Selected Traditional Learning Context
In relation to the issue of andragogy, I once had the opportunity to attend a conference organized by my employer. It was held with the aim of promoting skills in human resource development. Considering that it was an internal matter, it was held within the organization’s premises.
The presenter was a young gentleman from a local Information Technology (IT) consultancy firm. The reason why the conference was held was to emphasize on the need for all human resource managers and other employees to conform to the changing trends in our society today. The theme was ‘Technology for Future Prosperity’.
The topic sounded interesting. In fact, all members of the organization were eager to hear what the presenter had in mind. In the days leading to the conference, everyone waited in anticipation. All employees at my organization were expected to be present (Mankin 11). Only employees with a valid reason were to be exempted from attending the event.
The purpose of the lecture was to inform employees of the current trends triggered by IT advancements in the corporate world. The audience was to be taught on the various aspects of technology that were beneficial to their organization. In addition, the presenter was to show how the adoption of such technologies would promote efficiency in the organization (Mankin 11).
Considering that it was a technical issue, it was expected that the presenter would use practical examples to pass the message across. The audience also expected to have an opportunity to see the practical application of technology in an organization (Mankin 11). However, this was not the case. The presenter disseminated information through a lecture.
Reflection on the Lecture from the Perspective of Knowles’ Adragogy
For effective adult learning, classroom conditions should be in line with adult qualities. Traditional learning contexts do not put these qualities into consideration. Knowles formulated six assumptions in an attempt to show what motivated adult learning.
They included self directing, experience, social role, application, internal motivation and reason for learning (Boshier 87). The assumptions relate directly to the lecture given by the IT consultant in my organization. I will reflect on these assumptions by comparing them with the traditional learning that took place during the lecture.
Adult learners should be involved in planning and evaluation. They should make decisions concerning their education (Rogers and Horrocks 34). During the lecture, the presenter did not involve us. In addition, we did not have any choice but to attend the conference. As such, we felt that we were learning against our will.
In the traditional learning environment, the set learning outcomes were to increase the performance and efficiency of the employees. At the same time, the employees were to learn about the current trends in technology. Decisions on learning activities and outcomes were made by the management. No consultation was made.
Adults also need to be made aware of the learning activities that they will be part of. As such, they will be psychologically prepared to learn (Hayes 46). In the traditional learning context, we were only given a brief introduction of the topic.
No attempt was made to take us through the various learning activities and expected outcomes. As such, we did not know what to expect, which led to confusion. The session could have been more effective if the learning outcomes were aligned to adult qualities (Bobo 12).
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Better results would have been achieved through such learning outcomes as improving the skills of the employees to enhance their productivity. Although the lecture was not effective, it would have been appropriate for a college or university setting where students are used to this mode of presentation.
Knowles also assumed that adults are eager to learn what is of immediate relevance to them. They respond well to teachings touching on their careers and personal lives (Hayes 46). The traditional learning setting reflected this assumption. The teachings were of immediate importance to us since they were aimed at developing our skills.
As such, our productivity was likely to improve. The information in the presentation could have helped me relate better with other employees. Since technology supports communication, my interaction with fellow workmates and clients could also have improved.
According to Knowles, adults are problem-centered as opposed to content-oriented learners. As such, they seek knowledge aimed at solving the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis (Rogers and Horrocks 34). The traditional learning environment was in line with this assumption.
The role of technology in today’s society is undisputable. As such, the training improved our competencies. I feel that I needed the information to improve my performance at work. Receiving the information at a personal level would have enabled me to relate better with the issue. At the same time, I would have used the skills acquired outside the work environment.
Adult learners respond better to internal motivators than to external ones. As such, they pay more attention to things that concern them at a personal level (Connolly 5). In the traditional learning context, this assumption was not put into consideration. Technology was an external motivation. We viewed it as beneficial to the organization.
The presenter failed to show how its application would be beneficial to us at a personal level. The information provided in the lecture could have been of immediate application to me if the presenter made us feel that the teaching session was aimed at improving our performance as opposed to that of the organization (Bobo 16).
Reason for Learning
According to Knowles, adults need to be informed why the learning process is important (Bobo 12). The presenter must convince them why they need the knowledge to be acquired. In the traditional learning environment, the presenter went straight to the lecture. We were not informed why the session was important. As a result, the entire lecture felt like a waste of time.
Adults learn differently from children. As a result, different teaching methods need to be adopted. To enhance the effectiveness of the adopted strategies, instructors should be aware of the qualities associated with adult learners. Traditional teaching methods disregard these qualities.
As such, the learning outcomes are not usually met. Adopting strategies that pay attention to the qualities of adult learners would enable presenters to teach in a manner that the audience can easily understand and relate to.
Bobo, Luke. Does a Second Century Rabbi’s Teaching Methods and Process Elements Align with Malcolm Knowles’ Andragogical Framework?, St. Louis, Mo.: University of Missouri, St. Louis, 2011. Print.
Boshier, Peter. Perspectives of Quality in Adult Learning, London: Continuum, 2006. Print.
Connolly, Brid. Adult Learning in Groups, Maidenhead, England: Open UP, 2008. Print.
Hayes, Amanda. Teaching Adults, London: Continuum, 2006. Print.
Mankin, David. Human Resource Development, New York: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
Rogers, Alan, and Naomi Horrocks. Teaching Adults. 4th ed. 2010. Berkshire, England: Open UP. Print.