Andragogy is a theory of learning as learning applies to adults rather than children (pedagogy). According to Malcolm Knowles, there are 6 key components of adult education.

  1. Adults need to know the reason for learning something (Need to Know)
  2. Experience (including error) provides the basis for learning activities (Foundation).
  3. Adults need to be responsible for their decisions on education; involvement in the planning and evaluation of their instruction (Self-concept).
  4. Adults are most interested in learning subjects having immediate relevance to their work and/or personal lives (Readiness).
  5. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented (Orientation).
  6. Adults respond better to internal versus external motivators (Motivation).

I fail to see how these six things are not also true for children.

The objects that adults produce as part of their learning should be different than the objects children produce. Adults don’t need to create posters (although this may still be a valuable learning experience depending on the context) at the same rate that children do during their learning.

Adults have some different external concerns (children, job, home, etc…) than do children that sometimes interfere with their ability to learn in a classroom setting, but these concerns are just different than the concerns of children, they are no less important to the learner.

Adults come to their learning with more experiences than children, and this may make any unlearning (if necessary) more challenging for them, but the fundamental process through which they learn should be significantly similar to the process children go through.

The primary difference I see between adult learning and children learning is how much power they are granted during their learning.