Andragogy and Self-Directed Learning

Andragogy and Self Directed Learning March 10, 2008 Adult Education and Learning: Principles and Practice Andragogy and Self-Directed Learning: Pillars of Adult Learning Theory Candy’s written statement (1991, p. 309) which reads “since a learner’s autonomy is likely to vary from situation to situation, educators should not assume that because a person has been self-directed in one situation, he or she will be able to succeed in a new area: Orientation, support and guidance may all be required in the first stages of a learning project”, was a highlight for me. As I read through this article it seems as though to much emphasis was being placed on who was right and who was wrong about their theory. In all actuality theories are evolutionary just as learners in adult education are; therefore, all of the theories were probably applicable during the time in which it was established, for the most part. Now Candy comes along and writes this statement in which I agree with, wholeheartedly. I do so, because I can think of instances were I prefer to be a self-directed learned, but thats only when I want to know something miscellaneous; however, primarily, by nature, I am a dependent learner with a concrete sequential learning style. I need explicit directions before feeling comfortable with going forth with a task. To me self-directed learning puts me in the mindset of on line courses, in which, I would never subject myself to, unless it was absolutely necessary. I need the teacher directed, concrete experience of being in a classroom and learning from discussion, feedback and interpretation, something that I just do not feel I would get from and on line course per se. Insight for me is the mere fact that the methodology behind teaching adult learners is so widely debated. I never actually took the time to think about how someone should educate me as an adult. However, now that I am an adult learner, I am extremely thankful that someone did take the time to develop theories on how adult learner should learn. And I am even more elated because they are all closely knit which gives me confidence in the fact that the general picture is effective. I feel challenged to keep up with the latest research on theories behind adult education to see if modern day theorist are relating their theories to the “fathers and grandfathers” of adult education. As I venture out into the world as an adult educator, I will incorporate different practices and theories and note which ones were most effective and for what type of learner. Bibliography Candy, P. C. Self-Direction for Lifelong Learning. San Fransico:Josey-Bass, 1991 Merriam, S. B. (2001) Andragogy and self-directed learning: pillars of adult learning theory. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 89,3-13.

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