In discussing the strategies outlined in several of Malcolm Knowles books, one can clearly recognize adult learning theory as separate from traditional theories in education. In his book, Andragogy in Action, Knowles accurately predicted that by the end of the last century, education would become almost mobile as adults require educational resources that do not uniformly take place in buildings and on campuses but in places, at times and paces convenient to them. With the onset of the internet and the use of personal computers, education can be delivered electronically to service lifestyle choices associated with child rearing and the demands of full or part time employment.
Knowles believed that the greatest challenge was maintaining "the human touch as we learn to use the media in new ways." His findings resulted in the development of a self-directed, "andragogical model" of learning based upon the ideal of community learning centers as a new kind of educational facility, where lifelong learning is emphasized. Since retiring from North Carolina State University as Professor Emeritus of Adult and Community College Education at North Carolina State University in 1979, Dr. Knowles is Professor Emeritus of Adult and Community College Education at North Carolina State University. Since retiring from North Carolina State University in 1979, he consults businesses and industries, government agencies, educational institutions, religious institutions, and volunteer groups on a global basis. His work has been implemented extensively and universally in organizational training programs where "soft skill" sets are important in developing strong leadership in management. Since retiring, he has consulted businesses and industries, government agencies, educational institutions, religious institutions, and volunteer groups on a global basis. His work has been implemented extensively and universally in organizational training programs where "soft skill" sets are important in developing strong leadership in management.
By 1960, Knowles established a graduate program in adult education at Boston University where for fourteen years he applied his principles through case studies, role playing, simulations, and self-evaluation are most useful in academia to establish a modern practice for adult education. He put much of what developed in another book, "The Modern Practice of Adult Education: Andragogy vs. Pedagogy." For example, applying this theory in personal computer training; he proposed the need to explain why specific things are being taught while emphasizing common tasks was more helpful than pure memorization. In addition, instructions should take into account the varying backgrounds different backgrounds of learners with educational resources tailored to levels of experience with computers. Through illustrating his theory, Knowles developed a specific theory of education for adult students. With an emphasis on self-awareness and personal responsibility for one's own decisions, adult learning programs must accommodate this fundamental aspect. Andragogy as opposed to pedagogy, makes the following assumptions about the design of learning: (1) Adults need to know why they need to learn something (2) Adults need to learn experientially, (3) Adults approach learning as problem-solving, and (4) Adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value. With these principles in mind, adult learning should focus on the process rather than content to instill values of personal responsibility, and results based incentives. This hypothesis is well established as an accurate reflection of the need and usefulness in creating learning materials that emphasize the principles listed above.
Knowles believes that adults are self-directed and therefore learners should work independently; providing instruction primarily a facilitator or resource rather than lecturer or grader. The learner must play an active role in the planning and evaluation of their instruction as experience is the best teacher including mistakes that emphasize problem solving in their respective jobs or personal lives.
Knowles was very passionate about his work describing his inspiration as a product of a dream he had saying, "I have had for a long time -- a lifelong learning center in every community. I just dreamed it once again. The calendar on my bedroom wall showed that it was January 1, 2001 A.D., and the surroundings in my dream place me in Anyplace, U.S.A. (Later dreams put me down in villages and cities all over the world.) I saw people of all ages going into and coming out of the center, which had lettering over its door: "Main Street Lifelong Learning Center." His findings appear to have been based on some psychoanalytical aspects as he began to have dreams.
He used this dream as a primary source to establish his theories. He observed a typical intergenerational family in what was described as a…