Reflections on andragogy Remember the first time you learned to bake brownies, replace a light bulb, or change a tire? Chances are you learned these skills, not through formal education, but through your own initiative, motivated by desire or need. You may have learned the skills on your own; or perhaps you learned them with the help or guidance of others. These examples demonstrate the practice of self-directed learning. Self-directed learning occurs anytime an individual takes the responsibility for his or her own learning. This process can include everything from identifying the learning need, to locating the appropriate resources, to evaluating progress, and to determining successful completion or failure. Even though the learning is self-directed, it does not mean that the learning takes place in isolation. Allen Tough (1979) discovered that the average adult spent about 750 hours each year (fifteen hours per week) completing an average of eight learning projects. Most of this learning occurred in collaboration with family members, teachers, tutors, mentors, peers, and other resource people. Malcom Knowles (1970) introduced the concept of andragogy as a scheme for describing how adults learn differently than children. Andragogy is a problem-centered approach to learning that takes the learners’ needs and interests into account in the design, delivery, and evaluation of the learning activity. Knowles presented five assumptions about the adult learner: 1. As a person matures, his or her self-concept moves from that of a dependent personality toward one of a self-directing human being. 2. An adult accumulates a growing reservoir of experience, which is a rich resource for learning. 3. The readiness of an adult to learn is closely related to the developmental tasks of his or her social role. 4. There is a change in time perspective as people mature”?from future application of knowledge to immediacy of application. 5. Adult…
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