Posted: February 13th, 2023


Andragogy is an approach to adult learning that was first developed by the Austrian educator, Karl Heinrich Marschak in the late 19th century and further developed by American educator Malcom Knowles in the 1970s. The term itself is derived from two Greek words; “andras” meaning man and “agogos” which means leading or guiding. It is a theory of adult learning that strives to create an atmosphere of learner autonomy and self-direction through the use of experiential methods, peer interaction, and reflection. Andragogy focuses on the individual needs of adults as they learn, aiming to meet their need for self-direction while also providing them with effective strategies for problem solving and critical thinking skills.


The main focus of andragogy is to help adults become more efficient at acquiring knowledge and understanding through a process of self-directed change. This requires that adults be actively involved in their own learning process by establishing goals for themselves, taking charge of their own development through continued study, researching available resources, monitoring progress towards goals, reflecting on successes as well as failures, evaluating personal improvements over time, forming collaborations with peers for support or guidance when needed, maintaining motivation levels throughout different stages of learning processes etc. Additionally it seeks to apply principles such as active participation in one’s own education rather than relying solely on external influences or teachers; setting realistic goals; analyzing prior experiences in order to build upon existing knowledge; responding positively to constructive feedback etc., all aimed at helping individuals reach higher level performance more quickly than if they relied only on traditional instruction methods.

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Knowles’ adaptation made certain assumptions about adults including: being self-directed (they are motivated primarily by internal factors not external ones), having multi-faceted experience (they bring extraneous experiences into new situations), being goal orientated (they are looking for relevance between what they already know and what’s being taught) wanting respect (adults learn best when treated respectfully) needing encouragement (adults need positive reinforcement during the learning process). These assumptions have been used ever since by trainers working with adult learners who may require different approaches than those employed when teaching children because they possess greater autonomy over their educational path.

In addition to these differences between teaching methodology used with children vs adults another important factor related to successful implementation of this method has been identified – role models within various fields who can demonstrate how knowledge acquired via education can lead someone towards achieving success beyond just knowing facts but using them practically within everyday life settings. Such an approach encourages learners experienced enough to recognize potential applicability far beyond its theoretical implications while still acknowledging importance of information acquisition required initially should one pursue furthering professional qualifications based on specific subject matter area studied previously via similar methods applied originally following same principle – transformation from novice into competent practitioner able operate efficiently due association formed between subject matter learned theoretically combined another real world experience via parallel/alternative forms applications resulting potentially even broader scope understanding overall concept complete originally set objectives thus maximizing value gained empowerment sense accomplishment achieved end result desired effect intended start all along finally attained satisfaction both sides involved parties students instructors alike realized underlined basis this particular instructional model entirely geared toward helping grow mature learners rather infantile authority enforcing counterparts traditional classroom settings prevalently found today’s society times

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