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Adult Education: Knowles' (1984) Andragogical Model

What assumptions underlie Knowles' (1984) andragogical model? An article would be much appracited.

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1. What assumptions underlie Knowles' (1984) andragogical model? An article would be much appracited.

In discussing adult education, Knowles (1980, 1984) distinguished between teacher-centered and learner-centered instruction. He promoted the latter because it viewed learners as mutual partners in the learning endeavor (Merriam and Caffarella 1991). Known as the andragogical model, the use of learner-centered instruction--which supports addressing the needs and interests of learners--is regularly championed in the literature as the most effective way to teach adults.

The following assumptions underlie Knowles' (1984) andragogical model:

--Adults tend to be self-directing.
--Adults have a rich reservoir of experience that can serve as a resource for learning.
--Since adults' readiness to learn is frequently affected by their need to know or do something, they tend to have a life-, task-, or problem-centered orientation to learning as opposed to a subject-matter orientation.
--Adults are generally motivated to learn due to internal or intrinsic factors (such as helping their child with homework) as opposed to external or extrinsic forces (such as a raise in salary).

A logical outcome of these assumptions is the use of a collaborative teaching model that involves the learners as partners (Knowles 1980).

I hope this is helpful. Please see the article below which is very informative.



ERIC Identifier: ED305495
Publication Date: 1989-00-00
Author: Imel, Susan
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education Columbus OH.
Teaching Adults: Is It Different? ERIC Digest No. 82.

The adult education literature generally supports the idea that teaching adults should be approached in a different way than teaching children and adolescents, groups sometimes referred to as preadults. The assumption that teachers of adults should use a style of teaching different from that used with preadults is based on "informed professional opinion; philosophical assumptions associated with humanistic psychology and progressive education; and a growing body of research and theory on adult learning, development, and socialization" (Beder and Darkenwald 1982, p. 143). Following a discussion of the major model underlying this assumption, this ERIC Digest examines research that investigates differences in these teaching styles and suggests considerations for practice.


Malcolm Knowles (1980, 1984) is attributed with developing the most cogent model underlying the assumption that teaching adults should differ from teaching children and adolescents (Beder and Darkenwald 1982). By contrasting "andragogical" or learner-centered methods with "pedagogical" or teacher-centered methods, Knowles argues that adults differ from preadults in a number of important ways that affect learning and, consequently, how they approach learning. Therefore, according to Knowles, the more traditional pedagogical model is inappropriate for use with adults.

The following assumptions underlie Knowles' (1984) andragogical model: o Adults tend to be self-directing. o Adults have a rich ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the assumptions underlying Knowles' androgogical model. It also proovides an article on the model for extra reading, which includes a description of the model and implications for practice.