The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development (Sixth Edition) is essentially a summary view of Andragogy.

It’s honestly a little difficult to define andragogy, which is roughly the education of adults. This is a very important book for me in my day job because I teach military students. While reading this, I found myself asking a lot of questions because there is a time for self-directed androgogical learning is absolutely appropriate in some situations. However, a more pedagogical (pedagogy being the education of children) is sometimes more appropriate.

The comparison (and the book) aims mostly at helping one understand the intricacies of andragogy and when it is most appropriate.

It would be easiest to help you understand the distinction in the approach. Pedagogy is instructor centered and student dependent. The student is ignorant. This isn’t an insult; it’s a simple clinical term used to describe a student who has no experience or prior knowledge on a subject. This is where instructors in front of students speaking content originates from.

The problem comes when that student grows and moves on to higher education. I hope you all have had better education experiences than I have (though I feel I had some great teachers in my time), but most of my college classes were pretty much a continuation of high school and even grade school teaching methods. Andragogy seeks to be student centered and instructor facilitated.

This is my goal as a teacher (though I feel compelled to say my students may not agree).

The trick is that student centered learning must come student driven motivation. It’s an instructors goal to motivate learning for its own sake, and that’s where the rubber meets the road in ecucation.

This book gave me a lot of insights into what I call the points of friction in teaching military students, and there are several unique challenges that come with my job. I think anyone interested in teaching or even people curious about researching ways to learn would be interested in this title.

After I finish a few other books I have on education (which I read as part of my training), I’ll want to look for a more application-based book on adragogy because this book was all-in on theory. Still, having a theoretical base to work with, I can now test some ideas and see if some of these concepts will make me a more effective educator.

I know this isn’t my typical sort of review, but I review the books I read, and I just finished this last week. I promise I’ll have a more traditional review for you next week. Speaking of which, I wonder if you’d like to participate in that?

You see, I haven’t finished reading any of the three books I’m reading, which means I’ll need to go to my back log. Which would you prefer to see me review? Mistborn, The Wheel of Time, or the Dragon Riders of Pern? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,
Matt

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