Similarities and Differences Between Pedagogical and Andragogical Learning Approaches in Adult Learners Research Paper

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Pedagogical and Andragogical Learning Approaches in Adult Learners

There are a number of fundamental differences between pedagogical and andragogical approaches to both instruction and learning. However, the principle point of distinction between the two is this: the former is designed for young learners (Miemstra and Sisco, 1990) and for those who have a circumscribed amount of information and life experience to bring to a particular subject, whereas the latter is designed for adults and for individuals who can substantially enhance a discussion or points of education about a topic. In the use case in which a senior supervisor or manager of an organization asked an individual to design a program to increase employee awareness of sexual harassment and train workers in the appropriate ways to deal with harassment or complaints, one would obviously favor the andragogical method because it caters more towards adult learners. However, there are still some basic concepts of pedagogy that are valid and which could assist the professional designing the aforementioned training instruction. As such, it is prudent to utilize a synthesized approach that incorporates the best aspect of each methodology.

Within a pedagogical framework, instructors present themselves as authoritarian figures. The basic model for pedagogy is that the instructor is the expert on a subject and is going to impart his or her information to the students who can only hope to gain an understanding on the subject from the instructor. Furthermore, there is a rigidity to the nature of the objectives and the way that the instruction is issued, which frequently takes the form of non-creative means such as lectures or by students writing down information that the instructor has transposed on a whiteboard. In general, pedagogy is much more passive for the students, who are simply absorbing everything about the topic about which the instructor provides information. Despite this formal rigidity, it would be beneficial to conduct the training session on sexual harassment with an instructor who was an expert in the field. He or she should partition his or her time so that only a finite portion of the training session (certainly no more than a third of it) would be devoted to presenting the employees with information in a conventional pedagogical fashion. Moreover, since sexual harassment is a topic which virtually all employees are familiar with or perhaps even directly experienced, the instructor should attempt to present little known or even unusual aspects of this subject and its ramifications to employees during this time period.

The remaining two thirds of the time should be used engaging the employees in andragogical approaches to instruction and learning. If doing so requires a different instructor, then the session will simply have two such educators. However, the focus of andragogical measures is to engage the students, and to facilitate self-directed learning (Gibbons and Wentworth, 2001). This methodology assumes that the participants…

Sources Used in Document:


Barton, R. (2007). Pedagogy vs. andragogy. Retrieved from

Gibbons, H.S., Wentworth, G.P. (2001). Andrological and pedagogical differences for online instructors. Retrieved from

Hiemstra, R., Sisco, B. (1990). Moving from pedagogy to andragogy. Retrieved from

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