Let’s open this topic of adult learning vs children learning with the question “What is learning?” Learning is a mechanism that we have little control over and is influenced by the cultures, societies and environment we live in and the relationships we create. It requires sensory signals, paying attention to them, searching for relations and meanings, and, of course, framing them so that we can act on them.
It’s difficult to suppress childhood memories of reciting our twelve time tables in front of the class when we hear the word “learning.” This is because we spend the first quarter of our lives developing skills that will help us in the next three quarters of our lives. However, learning does not end there; it is something that we continue to do throughout our lives.
We frequently assume that people know how to learn. After all, didn’t we all have to learn in school? However, when it comes to corporate training plans, this can be a risky attitude to have. Theories on how children and teenagers learn are integrated into school curricula (and how much time they can dedicate to learning). Have you ever wondered if adults learn in the same way as children? (Hint: They don’t!)
Children’s education is compulsory, formal, and standardized. Adult education is self-directed and purposeful. The independent self-directed learner is the goal of adult education. Adults are more likely to reject a learning process that contradicts their sense of self as independent persons and does not meet their needs and desires.
Andragogy & Pedagogy
When developing learning methodologies, it’s important to understand how child and adult learning differ. When you’re a child, aim or purpose isn’t something you think about when you’re learning something new. To learn something successfully, small children do not necessarily need to understand why they are learning it. As the child grows older, this starts to emerge. The concept of purpose becomes a bigger factor in how well knowledge is interpreted.
The older child is more likely to want to know why they are learning, whether it is to pass their GCSEs or to learn how to get a job when they are older. The older a student gets, the more difficult it is for them to engage with learning without a reason. Adults have busier lives, and spending time researching something needs to have an end result that will benefit them, whether it be improving in their job position or learning something they are interested in. Information is only efficiently received if they need to know it.
When it comes to the disparities in children and adult learning, the way children and adults learn is a hot topic. Pedagogy is the study of how children learn under the supervision of a teacher. The same approach should not extend to adults, according to American educator Malcolm Knowles, who promoted the concept of andragogy, or the science of assisting adults in learning.
Knowles’ hypothesis that an adult’s learning capacity is different led to the distinction of children learning vs adult learning. Although the word andragogy was coined in Europe in the 1800s, it was popularized in the English-speaking world by Knowles. His book from 1970, The Modern Practice of Adult Education: Andragogy Versus Pedagogy, was the spark for a decades-long debate on how children learn differently than adults. Pedagogy is teacher-centered learning, while andragogy is learner-centered learning.
It’s not just Greek to us: the words “pedagogy” and “andragogy” are often used when discussing learning. Pedagogy, paidi (child) and ago (guide) are two Greek words. Andragogy, on the other hand, is made up of the words andras (man) and ago (guide). Despite the fact that both terms apply to learning methods, they have different ideologies. You’ll have a better understanding of how and why the subjects learn best if you know the difference between pedagogy and andragogy.
At the most basic level, andragogy refers to the strategies and techniques used in adult education that are geared toward self-actualization, experience, and problem-solving. Pedagogy, on the other hand, is an educational approach in which the learner relies on the teacher for instruction, assessment, and knowledge acquisition.
Andragogy Vs Pedagogy: 6 Main Differences
Readiness to learn.
Adult learners’ readiness to learn can be caused by a variety of factors, including a life change, a need to better manage life tasks and issues, a desire for self-improvement and self-development, and so on. Adults must understand why they are learning something; once they have answered this question, they are ready to begin. Children, on the other hand, are generally told what to do, with the goal of honing their abilities and progressing to the next level of mastery.
Adult learners are self-directed; they have complete control over their learning process and are solely responsible for their own education. They are also heavily involved in not only preparing but also assessing their learning, since they are aware of the skills they wish to gain. Young learners, on the other hand, are not self-directed; they depend on their teachers during the learning process. As a result, their teachers should be in control of not just what is learned, but also how it is taught and assessed.The role of learners’ experience.
Adult learners obviously have more experience than younger students. Their experience becomes the most important resource for both their learning and the development of their personal identity, since the richer and more diverse their experience is, the more diversity they can add to their own learning. Young learners, on the other hand, have no personal experience by nature, so this experience cannot be used as a learning resource whereas it can only be used as a foundation.
Motivation for learning.
What drives adults to plan time for learning in their hectic schedules? Adult learners are motivated to learn by a variety of factors, including self-esteem, self-confidence, a desire for a better quality of life, curiosity, self-development, and appreciation. Intrinsic incentives are much more effective than extrinsic incentives, so adult learners are more likely than younger learners to be pleased with the learning process, to be more concentrated, to be more persistent, and to be more motivated to apply their information more regularly and effectively. Children and adolescents, on the other hand, are mostly driven by extrinsic factors such as receiving good grades or other benefits, or preventing the consequences of failure.Orientation to learning.
What types of skills do adult learners want to learn the most? Adult learners, understandably, pursue knowledge that will help them in their personal lives and at work. This audience expects their education to be important to their real-life issues, challenges, and tasks, and that it will improve their success and allow them to live a better, more fulfilling life. The learning of a young audience, on the other hand, is topic based, which means that the subject decides the order in which the learning material units are introduced and taught.
The self-directed, cooperative, and two-way learning processes are at the heart of the andragogical approach. However, the emphasis of the pedagogical approach is on one-way learning, in which the teacher shares only his or her experience with the students. On the techniques used by a teacher to communicate information to a student, who is dependent on the teacher’s methods and understanding.
Adult learners are more goal-oriented than younger learners, so andragogy has the potential to be highly motivating. As a result, providing them with positive learning opportunities will make a significant difference in their learning outcomes.
Learning is an unforgettable experience. Learning is a deliberate action undertaken with the aim of extracting information for processing and storage, and then confirming the quality of that information through practice and use. The cognitive process of gaining ability or information is referred to as learning. Learning is the process of gaining new knowledge or altering existing knowledge, as well as changing habits and interests, developing skills, and better understanding values. Learning is the process of being more knowledgeable about something or becoming more conscious of it.
An individual can learn something in many different ways. Some learning approaches are more effective than others. The bottom line is that you can learn all you want, which opens up a world of possibilities. The power of learning is the most powerful source of human power. The vast bulk of the world’s wisdom is waiting for you, so don’t be hesitant, because he who hesitates is lost. Everyone suffers from their own illiteracy. And education is the best antidote for ignorance. We are in the midst of a learning revolution.