Andragogy is the best known adult learning theory because it was the first. Developed my educator Malcolm Knowles in the 1950s, andragogy is the basis for all the adult learning theories that have followed.
Adult learning theories give instructional designers a framework or guidelines for developing content for adult learners in different contexts. Below is an overview of three of the top adult learning theories all instructional designers should be familiar with.
Andragogy is the theory and practice of educating adult learners. Andragogy (also known as Adult Learning Theory) is based on five assumptions, four principles, and a five step model that aims to promote self-directed learning. Andragogy highlights the importance of adult learners’ experiences as foundations for future learning experiences. It also informs that a focus should be placed on learning that is relevant to adult learners at the time of the course. Learning should be problem-centered instead of content-oriented.
The Transformational Learning theory was developed by sociologist and professor Jack Mezirow. Transformational learning is a description of how learners make meaning of their experiences. Mezirow’s theory has 10 steps beginning with a “disorienting dilemma,” or a major life crisis or life transition. From there, learners reflect on the experience at different levels and perspectives all leading up to experimenting with new roles and reintegration. These are the steps explained in the Transformational Learning theory:
Experiential Learning is a theory developed by David Kolb that refers to the process of learning through experience and reflection. Experiential Learning is based on concept that knowledge can be gain through experiences without a teacher present. The learner can make meaning of his or her experiences on their own.
For a learner to successfully acquire knowledge through experiential learning they must:
The key element of all three of these theories is that the learner’s previous experiences are important and essential to future learning. One way to provide learners with a great online learning experience is to deliver your content on an online learning platform. Mindflash is a learning management system that gives instructional designers the flexibility to design interactive learning content to optimize the learner’s experience. Sign up for a free trial of Mindflash to find out how you can begin using it to deliver your training.