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Hear and Forget See and Remember Do and Understand

Pedagogy, Andragogy, and Heutagogy

Pedagogy and Andragogy Whats the Difference?

Adult Learning

The central question of how adults learn has occupied the attention of scholars and practitioners since the founding of adult education as a professional field of practice in the 1920s. Some eighty years later, we have no single answer, no one theory or model of adult learning that explains all that we know about adult learners, the various contexts where learning takes place, and the process of learning itself.

Adult Learning

What we do have is a mosaic of theories, models, sets of principles, and explanations that, combined, compose the knowledge base of adult learning. Two important pieces of that mosaic are andragogy and self-directed learning.

Adult Learning

The first book to report the results of research on this topic, Thorndike, Bregman, Tilton, and Woodyards Adult Learning (1928), was published just two years after the founding of adult education as a professional field of practice.

Adult Learning
Lorge focused on adults ability to learn rather than on the speed or rate of learning (that is, when time pressure was removed), adults up to age seventy did as well as younger adults. Today it is recognized that adults score better on some aspects of intelligence as they age and worse on others, resulting in a fairly stable composite measure of intelligence until very old age (Schaie and Willis, 1986).



In 1968, Malcolm Knowles proposed a new label and a new technology of adult learning to distinguish it from pre-adult schooling


Andragogy (Malcolm Knowles)

Andragogy is the art and science of helping adults learn:

Adults desire and enact a tendency toward selfdirectedness as they mature Adults experiences are a rich resource for learning. They learn more effectively through experimental activities such as problem solving Adults are aware of specific learning needs generated by real life Adults are competency-based learners who wish to apply knowledge to immediate circumstances

A climate of mutual respect is most important for learning: trust, support, and caring are essential components. Learning is pleasant and this should be emphasized


Principles of adult learning

Autonomous and self- directed Life experiences and knowledge Goal- oriented Relevancy- oriented Practical Respect


Adult Education is more effective when it is experience centered, related to learners real needs and directed by learners themselves.


The Learner


The learner is dependent upon the instructor for all learning The teacher/instructor assumes full responsibility for what is taught and how it is learned. The teacher/instructor evaluates learning

The learner is self-directed The learner is responsible for his/her own learning Self-evaluation is characteristic of this approach


Role of the Learners Experience



The learner comes to the activity with little experience that could be tapped as a resource for learning The experience of the instructor is most influential

Learner brings a greater volume and quality of experience Adults are a rich resource for one another Different experiences assure diversity in groups of adults Experience becomes the source of self-identify


Readiness to Learn


Students are told what they have to learn in order to advance to the next level of mastery

Any change is likely to trigger a readiness to learn The need to know in order to perform more effectively in some aspect of ones life Ability to assess gaps between where one is now and where one wants and needs to be


Orientation to Learning


Learning is a process of acquiring prescribed subject matter Content units are sequenced according to the logic of the subject matter

Learners want to perform a task, solve a problem, live in a more satisfying way Learning must have relevance to real-life tasks Learning is organized around life/work situations rather than subject matter units


Motivation for Learning



Primarily motivated by external pressures, competition for grades, and the consequences of failure

Internal motivators: selfesteem, recognition, better quality of life, selfconfidence, selfactualization


Andragogy vs. Adult Learning

Knowles revise his thinking as to whether andragogy was just for adults and pedagogy just for children. Between 1970 and 1980 he moved from an andragogy versus pedagogy position to representing them on a continuum ranging from teacher-directed to student-directed learning.


From Pedagogy to Heutagogy


It is thirty years since Knowles introduced us to the concept of andragogy as a new way of approaching adult education. Much in the world has changed since that time, and we all know that the rate of change seems to increase every year.



Heutagogy, the study of self-determined learning, may be viewed as a natural progression from earlier educational methodologies in particular from capability development.



The concept of truly self-determined learning, called heutagogy, builds on humanistic theory and approaches to learning described in the 1950s. It is suggested that heutagogy is appropriate to the needs of learners in the workplace in the twenty-first century, particularly in the development of individual capability.


The need for Heutagogy

This revolution recognizes the changed world in which we live. A world in which: information is readily and easily accessible; change is so rapid that traditional methods of training and education are totally inadequate; discipline-based knowledge is inappropriate to prepare for living in modern communities and workplaces; learning is increasingly aligned with what we do; modern organizational structures require flexible learning practices There is a need for immediacy of learning.

A heutagogical approach recognizes the need to be flexible in the learning, where the teacher provides resources but the learner designs the actual course he or she might take by negotiating the learning. Thus learners might read around critical issues or questions and determine what is of interest and relevance to them and then negotiate further reading and assessment tasks. With respect to the latter, assessment becomes more of a learning experience rather than a means to measure attainment.

As teachers we should concern ourselves with developing the learners capability, not just embedding discipline-based skills and knowledge. We should relinquish any power we deem ourselves to have.