Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

The Various Shades of George Bernard Shaw

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Topic 1: What is Andragogy and how is it relevant to training and development? Andragogy is the term used to describe ‘the art and science of teaching adults’ (Delahaye, 2011). It focuses on the post-school vocational education, where the adults learning needs are the main importance and also should allow them to take responsibility for their own learning (Delahaye, 2011). In this sense, the differences between andragogy and pedagogy are related to not only the way content is taught, but also the progression of learning.

Andragogy is relevant to training and development as concerns with the practical issues of trainers are coming into existence in relation to an effective way of using resources and the most suitable training methods (Jones, 1980). Therefore, as advances in knowledge are increasing, training and development programs need to be constantly altered and maintained to ensure that employees (adults) are processing this information. Andragogy is conceptualised in literature through conducting research to address what exactly is andragogy and what are the main issues in accordance to training and development.

In relation to police training and development, police officers valued four distinct areas – engagement, practicality, affiliation, and efficiency (Olivia, 2009). Firstly, police officers valued classrooms that were ‘interesting and inspiring’ (Olivia, 2009), as they preferred trainers who were enthusiastic and engaged their students. Police officers also preferred the content being delivered that can be applied to their own real-life experiences on the job. Officers really emphasised the importance of the classroom environment in relation to social interaction and classroom layout.

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Police officers that were involved in the training and development session wanted a chance to interact with others, including the trainer. This allowed for them to learn from eachothers’ experiences (Olivia, 2009). It was also reported that the classroom should be laid out in a manner that provides the trainer the opportunity to deliver the content in an ‘efficient and effective manner’ (Olivia, 2009). They preferred classes that were well managed in relation to the time period. Therefore, it is demonstrated in research and results that andragogy is all about the motivation and preferences of the student.

It is also mentioned that andragogy is ‘a learning theory, not a teaching theory’ (Mc Auliffe, 2009). Andragogy is explained through the ‘andragogical model’ composed by Knowles (Mc Auliffe, 2009). This model addresses the issues on the learning process of adults. There are four issues that make up this model. Firstly, it is important to explain to the student why they need to learn a particular topic. Secondly, the trainer has to show the learner how to direct themselves through the content, so that they can take responsibility and be motivated to learn.

The content also has to enable the student to be able to relate their own experience to the components being delivered. An adult learner needs to have a ‘life-centered, task-centered or problem-centered’ (Mc Auliffe, 2009). Adults prefer to learn when they are ready and motivated to do so. Through conducting research and going back to the words of academics, it is explained in literature what andragogy is (in a practical sense) and its utter most importance in training and development programs. There are many differences between andragogy and the way children learn. They differ in relation to certain characteristics about learning.

For example, the need to know, the learner’s self-concept, the role of experience, the readiness to learn, the orientation to learning and motivation (Delahaye, 2011). It is shown that children are being spoon fed content in a controlled environment, where they are more influenced by external factors. In andragogy, it is all about the needs, the experiences and self-motivational factors of the adult. For contrast, the pedagogical model developed by Knowles (Mc Auliffe, 2009) involved the communication of knowledge and skills, where ‘the teacher decides in advance what knowledge or skill needs to be transmitted’ (Mc Auliffe, 2009).

It is then that it is up to the teacher when and how information is going to be taught. Pedagogy is a teaching theory, not a learning one (Mc Auliffe, 2009). Andragogy is therefore the transition from school education to post-school education. Andragogical principles is a process of providing techniques and relevant resources to help adults obtain the knowledge and skills and also allow the trainer to prepare to involve them in the learning process.

Therefore for adults to develop on their skills and knowledge, it is important that they want to learn and are motivated to do so. Without this, there would be no progression. In connection with the design of the tutorial training session, I believe that andragogy is going to be very useful. In a classroom, at one point in class, a majority of the group get ‘bored’ and drift off in their own world. So therefore, it is important to ensure to come up with an activity that everyone can have fun with and would want to participate in.

With the importance of ensuring that students know why the need to learn, how they are going to go about learning and the amount of relativeness to their past experiences, the training session needs to be something that everyone can relate to. Everyone needs to be involved in the process of learning the desired knowledge and skills. Andragogy is all about the culture, systems and structures that make up the adult learning environment (Nicholas, 2008), which is key for a successful training session. In conclusion, Andragogy is all about the needs and experiences of the learning process of the adult.

It transcends from pedagogy, in a sense that the learning process has moved focus from a spoon fed controlled environment, to a different environment where the progression of learning is the student’s responsibility. This is relevant and very important to training and development, because, in reality, adults cannot be spoon fed the knowledge and skills needed in the working environment. They need to be more motivated and be informed of the reasons and procedures of training and development programs in order to progress and accept that they need to learn.

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