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Pedagogy Versus Andragogy: Whats the Difference?

Jennifer Dean

Grand Canyon University: TEC-544

September 10th, 2017



Please see this link so you can see all the images:


What is the difference between andragogy and pedagogy? How are they the same? The following

Venn Diagram describes some of the main characteristics of both methods.



Educators all over the world look for the best ways to actually provide students with instructions.

We are constantly collaborating with each other to see what works, what does not work and

trying to improve our instruction to meet the needs of diverse students. When contemplating

instructional practices, there is one term that usually comes to mind; pedagogy. Cho & Zacharias

(2014) explain the pedagogy is science and art of education. It is the methodology of teaching.

However, as we as educators are constantly trying to improve our instruction, there is a newer

term that is becoming more prevalent; andragogy. Giannoukos, Besas, Galiropoulos & Hicotour

(2015) explains that andragogy is method and practice of teaching adults. As an educator, and

adult, andragogy and pedagogy are things that are very important and interesting to me.

Personal Experience

Part of teaching is also learning. We must constantly be ready to learn a new strategy, tool or

form of instruction, in order to really meet the needs of our diverse learners. This makes us adult

learners. As adult learners, we can all think of our favorite professional development sessions or

courses, and also our least favorite. What made the difference? The instruction. The experience.

So often when adults are asked to be learners, they are not really given much choice. We are

expected to attend a certain professional development, often even required by districts to learn a

specific thing in which we just sit in a room and listen to someone talk to us. The problem is, that

is not how adults learn. Students also do not learn this way, and pedagogy would show that, but

for some reason, when people begin teaching adults they forget to think about how adults learn.

This is not always the case, but it is the way we remember which learning experiences were

beneficial for us, and which were almost a complete waste of time.

My best experiences as an adult learner were the interactive sessions in which there was some

choice involved. For example, in a new teacher orientation that was two weeks long, we were

learning about many different things. One day of training was on digital assessments. Instead of

just listening to someone talk to us, we were able to collaborate with colleagues, create digital

assessments that were relevant to use and actually participate in the assessments as a student. As

a result, I really learned a lot about which digital assessment tools would work for specific

purposes. I walked away that day feeling as if I learned a lot. Another example was attending the

CUE conference. I was able to choose sessions that were related to what I wanted to learn about.

Not only did I get some choice, but I was also able to interact.

In the same sense, there are times as an adult learner that I realized did not work For example,

last year my district had several days that we were required to learn about Close Reading. During

this time there was zero interaction. Someone just talked to use in a large group. We were

sometimes broken up into grade level, but basically we sat in a room and listened to someone

talk and tell us what to do. There was little to no interaction, no choice and was basically a

lecture style professional development session. During this type of learning, I found myself

extremely distracted and bored. I do not really feel that I learned anything. I am the kind of

learner that needs to interact, collaborate and actually experience what I am learning. At first, I

thought maybe that was not normal, but after researching I found out that adult learners feel the

same way.

What does this have to do with andragogy?

Peterson & Ray (2013) explain that andragogy has 6 basic assumptions. Tainsh (2016) also

describes these assumptions. The assumptions are related to how adult learners learn. These

assumptions include:

1. Adult learners are self-directed learners and act independently (Tainsh, 2016, p.32).

This means that coaches can guide the adult learners differently. They do not have to go

step by step all the time and constantly monitor what they are doing. Instead, they can

give them access to the information, be there to support and assist and make the

experience fun. Since adult learners are self-directed and act independently they can be

given more freedom and access.

2. Adult learners have gained valuable experiences in their lives and value applying their

experiences to the learning process (Tainsh, 2016, p.33). This is a very important thing

to remember and understand. As a coach, it is important to let the teachers share their

experiences and apply those experiences to their own learning. For example, when I lead

training sessions on Google classroom or Seesaw, I always have teachers who I know

have used the programs share out. I also encourage the teachers who have not used it yet

to think about what they do in their own classroom and how can they take that and apply

it to this tool. Doing this is important because teachers, and other adults, do have a lot of

experiences that they can apply to their new learning and make it even more beneficial.

3. Adult learners are eager and ready to learn they they need to succeed (Tainsh, 2016,

p.33). In my experience, many instructional coaches get intimidated or they do not want

to bother the teachers by going into their classrooms or sending too many e-mails.

However, it is important to remember that with adult learners they are really eager to

learn. Opening up sessions will have a surprising turnout!

4. Adult learners are interested in the application of learning in order to problem-solve

(Tainsh, 2016, p.33). This means give them problems to solve. Let them just explore the

tool for a little bit, or give them a challenge. They will most likely work up to it.

5. Adult learners are more internally motivated and less so by outside forces (Tainsh,

2016, p.33). Dont force it. Share ideas, get teachers collaborating and introduce tools

they are familiar with. Make it meaningful.

6. Adult learners are interested in understanding the value of what they are being taught

(Tainsh, 2016, p.33). Why do they need to learn this? If adult learners really understand

why this tool or program is important, they will want to learn it. This is probably one of

the biggest areas. Teaching them the why. If they really think the why is important, they

will do it.

This makes complete sense when I think about my own personally learning experiences. They

relate directly to how we as adults really learn and emphasize the importance of understanding

and integrating the assumptions into our own experiences.

So...How do we teach adults?

Understand andragogy and pedagogy is important as a learner, but also as a teacher. Giannoukos,

Besas, Galiropoulos & Hioctour (2015) explain that in order for teachers who teach adults to be

successful, they must understand the basic assumptions and integrate them into their instruction.

Peterson & Ray (2013) also explain that adult learners thrive with collaborative learning and

that their life experiences contribute to their learning (p.81). As a result, when I am teaching

adults, I take all of this into consideration. One tool I present on often is Seesaw. I probably

present at a Google Summit, EdCamp or district professional development session every month

about Seesaw. My sessions are often full. I take this as evidence that integrating andragogy into

the presentation is effective. Adult learners want to learn. They have valuable experiences that

they can share with their learning. They learn from collaborating and interacting. As a result, I

make my sessions very interactive and student lead.

Example of a presentation:


As you can see from this presentation it is very student lead. Students are getting to use the tool,

explore with the tool, collaborate with each other and have fun. They get to see examples, add

examples and more. This is something I will try to do with anything I present on. Taking the

assumptions about learners that andragogy makes and integrating it into a presentation really

does ensure that the adult learners will not only learn, but be excited to begin using the

information they learned.



Cho, L., & Zacharias, R. (2014). Introduction to pedagogy and precarity: what's love got to do

with it?. English Studies In Canada, (4), 1.

Giannoukos, G., Besas, G., Galiropoulos, C., & Hioctour, V. (2015). The Andragogy, the Social

Change and the Transformative Learning Educational Approaches in Adult Education. Journal

Of Education And Practice, 6(10), 46-50.

Peterson, C. M., & Ray, C. M. (2013). Andragogy and Metagogy: The Evolution of Neologisms.

Journal Of Adult Education, 42(2), 80-85.

Tainsh, R. (2016). Thoughtfully Designed Online Courses as Effective Adult Learning Tools.

MPAEA Journal Of Adult Education, 45(1), 32-37.