Various learning approaches exist in the educational world, allowing educators to choose which approach to use. Often, the learning approach to be used by any institution for learning will significantly depend on the targeted learning audience. In most cases, age determines the kind of approach to be used for learning. Following the age factor in determining the best approach to imparting learning to students, two major approaches have been devised, pedagogical and andragogical approaches. It is worth noting that previously, the widely known and almost solely used approach was pedagogical. However, with the continued realization of adult learners’ unique needs and motivators, education experts devised an andragogical approach. The pedagogical approach ensures learning for child learners, while the andragogical approach is used for adult learners.
Knowles (1970) defined and described the pedagogical learning and instruction approach, stating that it is significantly essential and ordinarily applicable to teaching children at their elementary education level. In the nineteenth century, pedagogical learning technique gained popularity and momentum in Europe and North America and was used to teach children at monasteries. The two approaches have the same goal, to pass knowledge to the learners, but they differ significantly due to their target for specific audiences. Each approach, however, is effective in passing knowledge and ensuring that the desired outcomes are achieved. This paper is concerned with comparing and contrasting pedagogical and andragogical learning approaches.
Comparison Between Approaches
First, it is imperative to understand the elementary concepts of andragogical and pedagogical learning and instruction approaches and then compare the two approaches by applying the same to an organization’s sexual harassment program. Knowles (1970) defined and described the pedagogical learning and instruction approach, stating that it is significantly essential and ordinarily applicable to teaching children at their elementary education level. In the nineteenth century, pedagogical learning technique gained popularity and momentum in Europe and North America and was used to teach children at monasteries. Later on, the approach proved effective for the children and was gradually adopted to teach children in their basic levels of education. Modern curriculum learning has its roots in the pedagogical learning approach. The approach was also adopted by organizations to equip skills and competence to their employees.
Over time, there was a realization that the pedagogical training approach was not the best for adults due to the difference in their learning preferences and the maturity they have, which makes the method ridiculous and less effective for them. Generally, the learning topics that form the basis of training and learning for adults are innovation, technology collaborative learning, among others, which are way different from the text-based learning used in schools for children (Lionetti & Akinyomi, 2019).
The idea necessitated a manner in which learning could be made effective for adults, thus leading to the conception of the andragogical approach. In this approach, learning was designed to benefit adults by employing a two-way communication style. Other significant differences between pedagogical and andragogical teaching techniques are based on the learner’s learning behavior and role in the process, readiness to learn, orientation to learning, and motivation for learning, among others.
It is essential to note that learners in the andragogical approach are self-directed when it comes to learning behavior. Adults take control of their learning process and take total responsibility for their learning. Aside from the learning process, adults are actively part and parcel of the evaluation of their learning since they know what kind of knowledge they need to acquire during the learning (Ching et al., 2018). On the other hand, children do not direct themselves in the learning process. In the pedagogical learning approach, children significantly depend on their teachers and instructors all through the learning (Lionetti & Akinyomi, 2019).
It, therefore, means that in a pedagogical approach, the teachers are responsible for what is to be taught, how the children will be taught, and even how teachers and instructors will evaluate them.
Another distinction between andragogical and pedagogical learning approaches is the role of the learners’ experience. Adult learners are more experienced in many ways than child learners. The experience born by adult learners is highly resourceful to both their learning process and the developed personal identity that they have since the diversity in knowledge and experience is valuable to their learning (Donohue & Kruis, 2020). By default, children have minimal experience. Thus, they hardly present any valuable experience to their learning process. It is therefore impossible to utilize a child learner’s experience to advance the learning itself.
Orientation to learning is can also be used to contrast pedagogical and andragogical learning approaches. The kind of information in which adult learners define the learning method that applies to them. In the natural sense, adult learners are attracted to helpful information for their personal and professional lives (Ching et al., 2018). This class of learners essentially requires that their learning is pertinent to the real issues, tasks, and problems that they face in their lives.
Adults further demand relevance of their learning to their performance levels by boosting their performance in various aspects of their lives and enabling them to live satisfying life (Lionetti & Akinyomi, 2019). On the contrary, young learners have their learning is centered on the subject, in that the subject determines the sequence to be followed in presenting and teaching the learning units.
Readiness to learn is another distinguishing factor for the pedagogical and andragogical learning approaches. Anything can trigger an adult learner’s readiness to learn, a drastic change in an aspect of their lives, a need for successful handling of life tasks and problems, the need to improve oneself and self-development, among others (Lionetti & Akinyomi, 2019). Before they learn anything, adult learners often want to find the reason for learning it. On the other hand, children are typically told what to learn, and they do not need to find a reason to (Donohue & Kruis, 2020). Motivating their learning is to gift them the skills that enable them to handle the next level of their lives.
Motivation for learning is a critical feature that brings out the difference between pedagogical and andragogical learning approaches. With a busy schedule, various factors still motivate adult learners to learn, including self-esteem, confidence, recognition, the need to have a better quality of life, and self-development (Donohue & Kruis, 2020). Intrinsic motivators have more power than extrinsic ones, thus, making the adult learner be more satisfied with the learning process and can easily focus compared to child learners (Ching et al., 2018). Additionally, adult learners are more persistent and keen to put their knowledge into practice often and in a more successful way than child learners. Contrary to this, the most motivators for child learners are extrinsic factors, including scoring better or evading the repercussions of failing.
Ching, Y. H., Hsu, Y. C., & Baldwin, S. (2018). Becoming an online teacher: an analysis of prospective online instructors’ reflections. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 29(2), 145-168.
Donohue, R. H., & Kruis, N. E. (2020). Comparing the effects of academy training models on recruit competence: does curriculum instruction type matter? Policing: An International Journal.
Knowles, M. S. (1970). The Modern Practice of Adult Education; Andragogy versus Pedagogy.
Lionetti, M., & Akinyomi, O. D. (2019). The “Pedagogy and Andragogy of relationships” Suggesting the Education Systems in Africa to Western Education.