Do you know what andragogy means?


Andragogy is the new pedagogy for adults, that is, the methods or techniques used in order to teach adults.


A little bit of context


  • First half of the 21st century: psychologists contributed to the explanation of learning behaviour in adults.
  • From 1960s onwards: adult educators draw their own principles about adult learning and its contrast with children’s.
  • During 1970s: Malcolm Knowles introduced the term andragogy and the fact that adults and children learn in different ways.


What does andragogy imply?


Andragogy refers to the unclear nature of adult learning and it is related to methodology. Furthermore, its strength lies in the “set of core adult learning principles that apply to all adult learning situations.” (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2012).




Andragogy in itself has six main ideas (Knowles et al, 2012):


  1. Learners need to know
  2. Self-concept of the learner
  3. Learners’ prior experience
  4. Readiness to learn
  5. Orientation to learn
  6. Motivation to learn


…and some key hypotheses (Lindeman, 1926):


  1. Adults are motivated to learn because learning provides them with information regarding their interests and needs.
  2. Adults’ orientation to learn is life-centered.
  3. Experience is the best source for adult’s learning.
  4. Adults need to be self-directing.
  5. Individual differences increase as people grow old.


Additionally, adult learning takes also into account the individual learner and situational differences, goals and purposes for learning.

Are you interested in learning more about it? All the information was retrieved from The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development (Knowles, Holton & Swanson, 2012).