Andragogy In The Twenty-First Century

Challenges and solutions for successful recruitment

Androggie is described by its creator, Malcolm Knowles, as the art and science of helping adults learn. One of the biggest challenges of andragogy, or adult learning, is allocating time and resources. We will try to look at both of these challenges, using Knowles’ principles of andragogy.

The challenge of time in Androggie

Adults divide their time to accommodate different activities in their mostly busy schedules. This means that it is difficult to allocate time for activities such as learning and leisure. What does this mean for learning? One of the characteristics of andragogy is that it is mostly self-directed. One of the disadvantages of self-directed learning is that it can easily be relegated to the periphery depending on one’s schedule. It is only during unallocated free time that adults can schedule a time to learn. This means learning is usually in direct competition with other activities such as leisure and family time. Androggie must therefore be a clear, short and concise activity, with a clear purpose, and available on the go.

The four principles of learning

First, we must acquaint ourselves with andragogic principles. Malcolm Knowles (1968) applies the four principles of learning to adult learning practices. Second, for our purposes, we will consider that our learner has limited time and may be reluctant to pick up something to add to their already busy schedule.

  1. Adults learn better from their experiences, and their prior knowledge should be taken into account
    Adults have limited time. Their attention span may also be limited due to other competing tasks. By drawing on their previous experiences during learning sessions, they can retain the material more easily.
  2. Adults favor a pragmatic approach and need to be able to apply learning to solve a specific problem
    Because time is a limited resource, adult learners need to know why they are learning by engaging in purposeful training.
  3. Adults are most interested in learning that has the most relevance
    Adults will rank what to read in order of importance and schedule time for what they feel is necessary.
  4. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their teaching
    Adults would rather spend their time on learning activities that they were involved in from the beginning. This stems from the need to understand how and why they engage with the learning artifact as time is a constraint.

From the above exercise, we would like to propose a hypothesis that adults are likely to engage in learning activities that they consider necessary or beneficial for them, and prioritize time, as it is a limited resource. One may have to research in depth to draw their own conclusions. Despite this, it is easy to draw parallels with Knowles’ four principles of andragogy.

How are we going to meet the challenge of time in adult learning?

From the previous points, we need to design learner journeys that take into account the busy learner. For example, your delivery mechanism should reflect timing considerations. “Is a full eLearning course necessary, or can a microlearning setup with bite-sized artifacts suffice?” Such questions allow us to cater for the already time-constrained individual.

Suppose we should further consider leisure and family time as a substitute for adult learning in terms of time use. In that case, it’s fair to consider making our learning artifacts as enjoyable and meaningful as possible. Gamification techniques, ease of use and the use of an intuitive platform are some of the concepts that may be necessary for the creation of learning aids for adults. Now let’s look at our second constraint: resources.

The challenge of limited financial resources in Androggie

The other notable challenge in twenty-first century andragogic training is limited resources. The average adult learner has limited financial resources depending on where they are based. This makes them picky because they will want to maximize what they buy. In some regions this is more evident in basic necessities; for example, access to technology is hindered due to high internet connection rates.

How are we going to meet the challenge of limited resources in adult learning?

  1. Learning artifacts must be made affordable to attract and motivate learners.
  2. There should be no one-size-fits-all approach to the development of teaching materials; rather, a concerted effort should be made to study different subjects and price them accordingly.
  3. By enabling system functional capabilities (eg offline mode) in a Learning Management System, users can access information without the additional financial pressure, use of different media, etc.
  4. Using a top-down organizational learning scheme will enable employees to engage in learning without having a budget constraint.

Resource limitations are therefore a limitation in adult learning that hinders the development of andragogy. We can assume that adults are picky and will only invest in or purchase learning artifacts that are best for them. Mature learning can be limited by resources. One may have to research in depth to draw their own conclusions. Despite this, it is easy to draw parallels with Knowles’ four principles in andragogy as we did in our previous section on time.


It is therefore prudent to develop your learning artifacts in a way that allows your learners to maximize the benefits, as there is a likelihood that these two factors can influence the principles of andragogy. All in all, resources and time allocation are critical factors in andragogy. Considering these two limitations can only help create better mature learner experiences. What do you think? Are these relevant restrictions? Share with us!

Related Posts