Saturday, November 5, 2016

Pedagogy vs Andragogy - How do you teach?

Guest Blogger: Frank Worts

Colleges and universities over the last 70 years have experienced two major shifts. One, there has been a shift in the undergraduate and graduate student populations from predominantly young, high school graduate, full-time White male students from upper income families to part-time older men and women, people of color, disabled persons, and low income students. This reality has exacerbated the task of instructors and administrators to address the multiplicity of personal, social, cultural, and educational issues that are represented in every college and university classroom (Anson & Miller-Cochran, 2009; Barrington, 2004, p. 424; Census Bureau, 1999; Schuetze & Slowey, 2002, p. 314; Zosky, Unger, White, & Mills, 2003, p. 186).
To address this changing population and the shift in skills that this population brings to the graduate and undergraduate classroom, many universities have attempted to use technology to assist instructors to address the differences and the readiness levels of their student populations. From my perspective, for instructors in higher education to make this shift using technology, it is important to examine courses from two specific perspectives – the content and process of instruction.
Malcolm Knowles’ theory of andragogy outlines effective methodologies for adult learning. When this theory is integrated into our instructional strategy, learning environments using technology can create lessons that address the needs of students young or old. Most of us are very familiar with the pedagogical and andragogical models. Research argues for the effectiveness and inappropriateness of each model. The models differ in six assumptions about younger and older learners. The six assumptions and differences are identified in table 1.

Table 1 summarizes the differences between the pedagogical and andragogical models:
Assumption about Learners
Pedagogical Model
Andragogical Model
1. Need to know
Learners need to know what the teacher tells them.
Learner need to know why something is important prior to learning it.
2. The learner’s self-concept
Learner has a dependent personality.
Learners are responsible for their own decisions.
3. The role of the learner’s experience
The learner’s experience is of little worth.
The learner’s experience has great importance.
4. Readiness to learn.
Learners become ready to learn what the teacher requires.
Learners become ready to learn when they see content as relevant to their lives.
5. Orientation to learning
Learners expect subject-centered content.
Learners expect life-centered content.
6. Motivation
Learners are motivated by external forces.
Learners are motivated by primarily by internal forces.
(Boulton-Lewis et al. 1996, 89-90; Knowles et al. 1998, 64-8).

To apply Knowles theory to our lesson plans, we need to complete a formative assessment of each or our students to assess where they stand in relation to the six aspects of their readiness to learn, and then creatively insert the use of technology to assist in their learning process.  Here are the principals and how they could be addressed with technology.

The Need to Know 
            The andragogical model holds that adults need to know the reason for learning something. Under the more standard pedagogical model it is assumed that the student will simply learn what they are told. Adults, based on life experience are used to understanding what and why they do in life, and how it will benefit them.
            One way to help students see the value of the lessons is to ask the student, either online or in an initial face-to-face meeting, to do some reflection on what they expect to learn, how they might use it in the future or how it will help them to meet their goals.

The Learner’s Self-concept
The andragogical model holds that despite the adult need for autonomy, previous schooling has probably made them dependent learners. It is the job of the educator to shift adult students away from old habits and into new self-directed patterns of learning.
Using web-based learning to create non-linear experiences allows an adult to follow the path that most appropriately reflects their need to learn. In some instances, the instructor should pay close attention to the individual student to offer suggestions for learning strategies.

The Role of the Learner’s Experience
The andragogical model holds that adults have had a lifetime of experiences. Adults want to use what they know and want to be acknowledged for having that knowledge.
The design of technology-based instruction must include opportunities for learners to use their knowledge and experience. Case studies, reflective activities, group projects that call upon the expertise of group members and lab experiments are examples of the type of learning activities which will facilitate the use of acquired expertise.

A Student’s Readiness to Learn
The andragogical model holds that adults become ready to learn something when, as Knowles explained, “they experience a need to learn it in order to cope more satisfyingly with real-life tasks or problems.” (1980, 44). Younger students should also be helped to explore the rationale for a piece of learning.
Using technology-based opportunities should, where possible, be concrete and relate to students’ needs and future goals. The experiences which simulate situations where the student will encounter a need for the knowledge or skill presented.

The Student’s Orientation to Learning
The andragogical model holds that adults are life, task or problem-centered in their orientation to learning. They want to see how what they are learning will apply to their life, a task they need to perform, or to solving a problem.
Technology-based instruction will be more effective if it uses real-life examples or situations that adult learners may encounter in their life or on the job. Allowing flexibility in the design of a lesson will permit student input on issues that need to be addressed in a class. If students can bring real-life examples of school discipline challenges to a chat session in an online course on behavior management they will be anxious to participate and gain the practical experience which will help them to do better at their job.

Students’ Motivation to Learn
The andragogical model holds that while adult learners may respond to external motivators, internal priorities are more important. Incentives such as increased job satisfaction, self-esteem and quality of life are important in giving adults a reason to learn.
Activities that build students’ self-esteem, or sense of accomplishment through, for example, the completion of goals or modules that can be checked off in a sequence, may help motivate completion of a longer lesson. In addition, student’s input into the development of lessons or in the prioritization of topics covered can help students to take ownership of the learning process. 

In conclusion, the message of this blog is that as content experts, we need to identify our learning and teaching philosophy and specifically apply it to how we use technology in our course offering to enhance student learning.

Anson, C. M., & Miller-Cochran, S. K. (2009). Contrails of Learning: Using New Technologies
for Vertical Knowledge-building. [Article]. Computers & Composition, 26(1), 38-48.

Barrington, E. (2004). "Teaching to student diversity in higher education: How multiple intelligence theory can help." Teaching in Higher Education 9(4): 421-434.

Boulton-Lewis, Gillian M., Lynn Wilss, and Sue Mutch. 1996. Teachers as adult learners: Their knowledge of their own learning and implications for teaching. Higher Education 32, (1): 89-106.
Capogrossi, D. (2002). The assurance of academic excellence among non-traditional universities.
Higher Education in Europe, 27(4), 481-490.

Census Department, U. S. (2000). Back to school. Washington, DC: Census Bureau.

Knowles, Malcolm S. 1980. The Modern Practice of Adult Education; From Andragogy to Pedagogy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Cambridge Adult Education.

Knowles, Malcolm S., Elwood F. Holton III, and Richard A. Swanson. 1998. The Adult Learner. Houston: Gulf Publishing.

Santangelo, T., & Tomlinson, C. A. (2008). the application of differentiated instruction in
postsecondary environments: Benefits, challenges, and future directions. International
Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, 20(3), 307-323.

Schuetze, H. G., & Slowey, M. (2002). Participation and exclusion: A comparative analysis of
non-traditional students and lifelong learners in higher education. Higher Education, 44,

Zhang, J. (2010). Technology-supported learning innovation in cultural contexts. [Article].
Educational Technology Research & Development, 58(2), 229-243. doi:10.1007/s11423-

Zosky, D. L., Unger, J., White, K., & Mills, S. J. (2003). Non-Traditional and traditional social
work students: perceptions of field instructors. [Article]. Journal of Teaching in Social
Work, 23(3/4), 185-201

1 comment:

  1. I miss the good" old days," when the change and adaption was on the student. You decide whether you want to go to a university (or not); and, if you do, you do all you can to adapt to the institution's or professors' ways, whatever they are and however outdated or outmoded they may be.

    Safro Kwame