Andragogy is the science and practice of adult learning. This is different from pedagogy, which is the science and practice of children learning. In the Greek, andragogy means “man-leading” while pedagogy means “child-leading.”
The term “andragogy” was first used in 1833 by a German teacher named Alexander Knapp.
In the 1950s Malcolm Knowles was convinced that adult learning had to be self-driven. Rather than having education be teacher-centric, adult learning should focus on adult students and teach them the power of self-motivated learning. He identified five key pillars of understanding adult learners:
- A maturing self-concept. They grow towards being self-driven and independence.
- The increase in experience becomes an expanding resource for learning.
- Increasing readiness to learn. An adult moves into various social roles. New roles require new knowledge.
- A shifting application and orientation. The application of knowledge needs to be immediate and more solutions-focused.
- An internal motivation to learn. Most adult learners want to grow in self-development. They need to acquire new skills. They find themselves facing an unfamiliar problem and need to find a here-and-now solution.
Andragogy focuses specifically on adults training and education, defined by UNESCO Nairobi Declaration of 1976 as “the entire body of organized educational processes, whatever the content, level and method, whether formal or otherwise, whether they prolong or replace initial education in schools, colleges and universities as well as in apprenticeship, whereby persons regarded as an adult by the society to which they belong develop their abilities, enrich their knowledge improve their technical or professional qualifications or turn them in a new direction and bring about changes in their attitudes or behaviour in the twofold perspective of full personal development and participation in balanced and independent social, economic and cultural development”.
The underlying outcomes that Kailo Institute NPC hopes to inform are to help participants to appreciate themselves more fully.
- To develop in passion for life and self-respect.
- To grow in understanding their needs, motivations, interests, goals and capacities.
- To increase in accepting other people and treating others with respect and dignity.
- To learn to accept and embrace change in life.
- To embrace a passionate attitude towards life and new experiences.
- To grow in the understanding that when problems arise one should respond to causes and not react to mere symptoms. This includes identifying root causes and managing solutions.
- To mature in a dynamic relationship with God and to fulfil their God-given calling.
According to Ozuah adults learn best under the following conditions:
- When they want or need to learn something;
- In a non-threatening environment;
- When their individual learning style needs are met;
- When their previous experience is valued and utilized;
- When there are opportunities for them to have control over the learning process;
- When there is active cognitive and psychomotor participation in the process;
- When sufficient time is provided for assimilation of new information;
- When there is an opportunity to practice and apply what they have learned;
- When there is a focus on relevant problems and practical applications of concepts;
- When there is feedback to assess progress towards their goals.
Kailo Institute NPC specialises in informal and non-formal learning. Informal learning “results from daily activities related to paid or unpaid work, family or community life, or leisure” (SAQA).
Non-formal learning is “planned learning activities, not explicitly designated as learning towards the achievement of a qualification or part-qualification; often associated with learning that results in improved workplace practice”. This can include continuing education, non-aligned courses, short courses and popular education (SAQA).
SAQA’s definition for Lifelong learning focus on learning that takes place in all contexts in life – formally, non-formally and informally. It includes learning behaviours and obtaining knowledge, skills, understanding, attitudes, values and competencies for personal growth, social and economic well-being, democratic citizenship, cultural identity and employability.
All Kailo Institute NPC’s endeavours are underpinned by Christian values to enhance insight, wisdom, wholeness and growth.
Knowles, M. (1975). Self-Directed Learning. Chicago: Follet.
Knowles, M. (1984). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd Ed.). Houston: Gulf Publishing.
Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in Action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
NQFPedia, Standard Glossary of Terms, TERMS RELATED TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK, 2014, updated 2017.
Ozuah, P. O. (2005). First, there was pedagogy and then came andragogy. The Einstein Journal of Biology and Medicine, 21, 83-87.
SAQA National Policy and Criteria for the Implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning (Amended in 2019) – www.saqa.org.za
UNESCO XIX Conference (1976), Recommendation on the development of adult education.