Prevalent Andragogical Instructional Preferences and Technologies

Prevalent Andragogical Instructional Preferences and Technologies

George R. Maughan (Indiana State University, USA) and Davison M. Mupinga (Kent State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-694-0.ch012
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As developed countries face skilled worker shortages and their workforce becomes more diverse, education and training of adults has taken center stage. Changing workforce demographics, global economies, and advances in technology commonly influence what, when, and how to teach adults. This chapter provides an overview of contemporary andragogical instructional techniques and seeks to describe examples of their application through electronic delivery. Due to the emerging body of literature on some adult instructional techniques, efforts will be made to discriminate between techniques solidly grounded in theory, and those which show promise.
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Pedagogy is derived from two words, paid meaning “child” and agogus meaning “leader of,” and literally means the art and science of teaching children (Knowles, 1973). According to Ozuah (2005), the model was founded on several assumptions about learners: 1) dependent personality of the learner (not knowing own learning needs), 2) learning needed to be subject-centered (curricula were organized around subjects), 3) emphasized extrinsic motivation as driving force for learning (the use of rewards and punishments to encourage learning), and 4) prior experience of the learner was irrelevant (blank slate concept or tabula rasa). The pedagogical model is concerned with the transmitting of information and skills (Holmes & Abington-Cooper, 2000), and therefore, the teacher determines what is to be taught and how.

In contrast to pedagogy, andragogy, the process of engaging adult learners in learning experiences (Ozuah, 2005), is viewed as providing procedures and resources for helping learners acquire information and skills. Knowles (1984) describes the field of andragogy as premised on five assumptions about characteristics of adult learners: 1) self-concept (moves from being a dependent to self-directed being), 2) experience (a mature person has experience), 3) readiness to learn (ready to learn developmental tasks of their social roles), 4) orientation to learning (immediacy of application knowledge and problem centeredness), and 5) motivation to learn (internal motivation to learn as opposed to external). These assumptions guide the selection and delivery of adult learning activities, and therefore, in andragogy, the teacher’s role is that of a facilitator, change-agent, or consultant with the learners taking part in deciding what is to be taught and how (Holmes and Abington-Cooper, 2000).

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