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Andragogy’s Definition, Models and Concepts Report

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Comparing Models

Andragogy is the term meaning adult education. It has been acknowledged that teaching adults should be somewhat different from teaching children. Knowles has developed a model of adult learning based on a number of assumptions (Sessa & London, 2015). These assumptions are as follows: the need to know, self-concept, experience, readiness to learn, orientation to learn and motivation to learn (Finlay, 2010). It is necessary to note that many scholars and educators agree with Knowles’ view on adult education.

Thus, Brookfield also claims that the assumption of self-concept is an important aspect to take into account (Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2012). The researcher agrees that adult learners need to feel that they can make decisions. Adults may be reluctant to follow too specific directions, which may result in poorer performance. The researcher also supports the idea that adults are problem-centered rather than subject-centered as they want their learning to result in the development of particular skills necessary to solve various issues they face or may face.

Grace stresses that Knowles’ theory has had a significant impact on the development of adult learning (Merriam et al., 2012). The researcher notes that Knowles managed to draw educators’ attention to such peculiarity as motivation and problem-centeredness. Alfred emphasizes that Knowles’ attention to the concept of experience is remarkable as experience plays a significant role in adult learning. Apparently, the model has become a milestone in the development of teaching models and theories.

Contrasting Concepts

Nonetheless, Knowles’ model has also been heavily criticized by many researchers. For instance, Brookfield states that three out of six assumptions are disputable. The researcher claims that self-directedness is rather a desirable condition as many adults are unable to identify their goals as well as the best strategies to employ (Merriam et al., 2012). Jarvis states that Knowles pays little attention to the learning contexts. Sandlin also notes that Knowles considers all learners similar in terms of the way they learn (Merriam et al., 2012).

However, such factors as race, gender, values, cultural background, class and so on affect the way adult students learn. Sandlin stresses that Knowles’ model is apolitical and, hence, less appropriate. Lee also notes that Knowles’ view of adult learners is too generalized. The researcher points out that the theory is almost inapplicable with foreign students. Using an Africentric approach, Alfred claims that educators have to take into account such adult students’ experiences as oppression, discrimination and so on. The researcher also notes that African Americans often learn using intuitive learning while Knowles focuses on objective knowledge.

Researchers often stress that the difference between andragogy and pedagogy is not as considerable. Thus, the assumption concerning adults’ experience is quite vague. For example, Hanson emphasizes that children also have various experiences that can and should be taken into account when teaching these students (Merriam et al., 2012).

It is possible to note that researchers agree that Knowles’ model can be used as a theoretical framework for adult learning. However, every assumption should be regarded in a narrower context. Numerous studies have proved that learners are very different. They may be less self-directed and less motivated as Knowles suggested. Nonetheless, it is possible to use the assumptions as some goals since educators should help teachers to become self-directed, problem- and life-centered, highly motivated to learn. This will enable adult learners to be successful in their lifelong learning.

Reference List

Finlay, J. (2010). . Web.

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2012). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

Sessa, V. I., & London, M. (2015). Continuous learning in organizations: Individual, group, and organizational perspectives. New York, NY: Psychology Press.

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