The reason why an adult learns is different from reasons that a child learns. Let’s call it life.
PEDagogy is a term used to define the art and science of teaching children.
Since in Greek agogos means "leader", a paidagogos was a slave who led boys to school and back, but also taught them manners and tutored them after school.
The English prefix “PED” is derived from a Greek origin meaning ‘child’.
The prefix “ANDR” derives from Greek again to means “man” or the modern version – adult.
Traditionally experts talk about the difference between adult learners and child learners is that adult learning needs to be learner focussed and child learning is traditionally teacher focussed.
Have a look at the work of KNOWLES – who is a respected researcher in this area of education Knowles, M. S. (1970). The modern practice of adult education: Andragogy versus pedagogy. Chicago: Follet Publishing Company.
Another useful resource for adult learning is https://ala.asn.au/adult-learning/the-principles-of-adult-learning/
Essentially if a teacher is engaging in the ART AND SCIENCE of teaching CHILDREN, we refer to the practice as PEDAGOGY. If a teacher is engaging in the ART AND SCIENCE of teaching ADULTS it is referred to as ANDRAGOGY.
Nevertheless, trying to tap into the motivation for why people learn, adult or child, is good teaching practice. As we grow, we collect more baggage along the way and we question the why and how a little more. Our learning needs to be relevant to what we what to achieve – not just because we are told to achieve. It makes simple sense.
What is really going on?The Australian VET sector approach to education and training is built from the foundations of andragogy. Andragogy is common practice in the Australian VET sector, evidenced by the implementation of theories and principles of adult learning (Choy & Delahaye, 2003).
Choy and Delahaye contribute to VET research and have presented at the Australian VET Research Association conferences. Their paper entitled ‘Andragogy in Vocational Education and training: Learners perspective’ is easy to read if you are into that sort of stuff. Check out the website of the Australian Vocational Education And Training Research Association at https://avetra.org.au/.
Creating an environment conducive to adult learning has national benefits inclusive of preparing new workers; up skilling existing workers and offering alternative pathways. This is true for VET sector professionals as well as students. In planning for innovation and change within the dynamic VET environment, adult learning principles need to be considered in learning and in evaluating trainer engagement. To build an infrastructure that positively supports a productive workforce VET needs to support VET professionals. Professional Education or Development needs to be authentic and meaningful to build a community of engaged adult learners.
For current research in VET, review the NCVER website.
What do we need to do?Simply, the Australian VET sector needs to build collaboration instead of competition between sector professionals. VET professionals need to work together and to learn from each other if we are to build a dynamic and innovative industry and workforce that benefits all Australians as we grow to meet future domestic and internation business and industry needs.