Process of Teaching: Pedagogy and Andragogy

When I wrote  Instructional Design Defined on April 8, 2013, I gave a basic overview of the field I very much enjoy being a professional in. I promised that more information would come regarding terms and theories that I only briefly mentioned in that post.

This week, I will give more insight on the Instructional Design terms of Pedagogy and Andragogy.

Instructional design is often associated with Pedagogy or the “process of teaching”. As an instructional designer and an instructor, it’s very important to consider not only WHAT will be taught, but also WHO is being taught and HOW a lesson will be taught.

A successful instructor or instructional designer will consider the students’ background knowledge and experience. Some things to consider (but not limited to):

    • Is the student a Novice?

    • Is the student an expert seeking a refresher?

    • Has the student completed prerequisite courses?

    • Does the student use the topic daily?

It is also important that the instructional designer considers the situation, and the environment when designing a curriculum:

    • Does the lesson have immediate and important implication (such as safety protocols)?

    • Is the lesson being conducted in person or online?

    • Is the lesson self-guided or instructor-led?

In addition, a Pedagogical approach to instruction will consider the learning goals set by both the students and the instructor.

A related term is Andragogy or the teaching process developed for an audience of adult learners. Andragogy is intended to engage adult learners with the purpose of creating a meaningful learning experience. Adult learning theory typically states that learners are self-directed and autonomous in their learning goals and that instructors act as facilitators of learning.

Andragogy focuses on six assets (created by Malcolm Knowles):

  1. Adults need to know the reason for learning

  2. Learning through experience and making mistakes. Learn by Doing is a common phrase.

  3. Adults are involved in the decisions of their education including the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

  4. Topics should have immediate relevance to work.

  5. Problem-centered versus content-oriented.

  6. Internal motivators versus external motivators such as rewards result in better responses from adult learners

As many of you know, I have held several roles. Not only am I a Manager of Instructional Technology, but I also instruct an undergraduate course online and I have experience as a Graduate student taking both online and traditional classroom classes. This combination of roles has given me different perspectives as an Instructional Designer.

From my experience as an online student, my best experiences and learning outcomes were achieved when my professors designed the lesson structure for the online environment. Understanding that an online environment lacks synchronous interaction with students is important in overcoming a barrier to learning.

I’ve retained more information from classes that used a variety of tools to share the information. Examples include using voice recording over lecture notes and video demonstrations of content. In addition, classes that had me working on demonstrating my knowledge in the forms of projects, presentations, and exams were beneficial to my retention of knowledge.

However, my worst recall comes from classes that simply had PowerPoints of class notes available to read without any clarification or direction on how to apply those lessons to real life. Just because a class is conducted online doesn’t mean the instructor should take a “set and forget” approach to teaching.

Consideration and care of how the information is received and interpreted by students is important in the achievement of learning objectives.


About Julie Tausend Burba

Instructional Designer at Hulu, Ed Tech and Project Management enthusiast. MBA Technology Management, MS Management, BS Communications, Traveler and Cook.

Posted on April 29, 2013, in Instructional Design, Tausend Talks Shop and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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