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Andragogy is a theory of adult education proposed by the American educator Malcolm Knowles (April 24, 1913 -- November 27, 1997).

Knowles held that androgogy (from the Greek words meaning "man-leading") should be distinguished from the more commonly taught pedagogy (Greek: "child-leading").

Knowles' theory can be stated as four simple postulates [1]:

  1. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.
  2. Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities.
  3. Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life.
  4. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.

Knowles' work (most notably the book Self-Directed Learning: A Guide for Learners and Teachers, published in 1975) has been controversial. To some, his proposed system states the obvious. To others, he has merely proposed an adaptation of existing child-learning theories.

See alsoEdit


  • Knowles, M. (1975). Self-Directed Learning. Chicago: Follet. ISBN 0842822151
  • Knowles, M. (1984). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd Ed.). Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing. ISBN 0884151158
  • Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in Action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0608217948

External linksEdit

fr:Andragogie ms:Andragogi nl:Andragogie

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