Andragogy

After reading about andragogy this week, I was reminded of Monty’s email to me after I asked about the deadline for our modules. He said “The goal for the learning module is really embedded in the process more than the final product. I know I am pushing back a bit on everyone to really think through the design, but I think this is where the learning really happens. I am not overly concerned with the final product, but more interested in seeing growth during the process.” Emphasizing the process not the outcome is how eLearning designers and facilitators for adults should utilize the principles of andragogy when designing learning experiences. Learner-centered education is organizing curriculum where students “enter problem solving units” (Knowles, 2013). This type of curriculum design puts students in the driver seat. Real learning occurs when students are actively involved and engaged in the design and planning of their own learning activities.

I think I will utilize andragogy principles in my module through the 90 day action challenge. You may have already read in my previous blogs that I’m mostly concerned with the self-development process than I am with students achieving their desired goal. When I did this academic challenge before in an in-class environment, a majority of students  didn’t meet their GPA goal, but they did walk away with great new strategies and resources in place for next semester. They also admitted they walked away with a better understanding about how they work best, when they should/shouldn’t schedule study time, best study environments, a list of tutors for particular classes, etc. While a student is trying to develop a new habit, their level of self-awareness increases. It’s this experience that becomes a resource for learning. College freshmen need to practice and experience diagnosing their learning needs, which can be done through activities like my 90 day action challenge. The problem centered activity provides opportunities for self-reflection. Myself and the students’ peers will provide guidance, support, and suggestions throughout the self-development process.

In a face to face classroom environment, synchronous discussion may not allow for appropriate reflection time necessary for lasting change, but the instructor can send out discussion prompts ahead of time so students can come prepared to class ready to have focused discussion on a particular topic. I also think the icebreaker activities are critical in order to build that sense of collective community. I will also give my students the opportunity to exchange contact information if they wanted to get together in person outside of class. My hope is that maybe the students can create a learning community that lasts throughout their four years in college. Perhaps going through the time management/90 day action challenge together, they can rely on one another for support in other classes.

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2 thoughts on “Andragogy

  1. “Emphasizing the process not the outcome is how eLearning designers and facilitators for adults should utilize the principles of andragogy when designing learning experiences. Learner-centered education is organizing curriculum where students “enter problem solving units” (Knowles, 2013). This type of curriculum design puts students in the driver seat. Real learning occurs when students are actively involved and engaged in the design and planning of their own learning activities.”

    Well said, Mary! I couldn’t agree more – and like you, am trying to foster that self-discovery in my module. I love how you are using the 90 day challenge – my module also has aspects of individualized goal setting and task achievement. We are working with very similar populations, and I found this Knowles quote fascinating, and wanted to share it with you:

    “most of what I learned in elementary school I learned in order to be able to get into high school; and most of what I learned there I learned to prepare me for college; and most of what I learned in college I hoped would prepare me for a happy and productive life.”

    Knowles, M. S. (1970). The modern practice of adult education (Vol. 41). New York: New York Association Press. p.53.

    It seems to me that we are both assisting our learners through these developmental transitions of high school to college and college to adulthood. Utilizing andragogy as the theory behind our instructional lessons seems pretty appropriate if our larger goal is the development of adults. It seems a shame that more college courses aren’t using more andragogical methods as part of their instruction, as then it falls either to the student to acquire these skills themselves or to us as their academic advisors to facilitate this type of learning.

    I also like how your module assists the student with identifying and practicing their learning needs. My module also prompts that self-identification through the Mindset Inventory, and practice through their final project. One thing that I’m not familiar with in the 90 day action challenge is how students identify their goal….how will you guide them during this phase?

    Hope you have a great vacation this week!

  2. really great post. I think this, “In a face to face classroom environment, synchronous discussion may not allow for appropriate reflection time necessary for lasting change…” is so important, and is a major benefit to virtual learning

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