Date & Time
ANDRAGOGY AND SELF-DIRECTED 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. What we do have is a mosaic of theories, models and sets of principles, and explanations that, combined, compose the knowledge base of adult learning. Two7c important pieces of that mosaic are andragogy and self-directed learning. Other chapters in this volume focus on some of the newer approaches to understanding learning; the purpose of this chapter is to revisit two of the foundational theories of adult learning to assess their “staying power” as important components of our present-day understanding of adult learning” (Sharan B. Merriam)
Andragogy: In 1968, Malcolm Knowles proposed “a new label and a new technology” of adult learning to distinguish it from preadult schooling (p. 351), The ANDRAGOGY AND SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING 5 European concept of andragogy, which he defined as “the art and science of helping adults learn,” was contrasted with pedagogy, the art, and science of helping children learn (Knowles, 1.980, p. 43). Andragogy became a rallying point for those trying to define the field of adult education as separate from other areas of education.