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Malcolm Shepherd Knowles (August 24, 1913–November 27, 1997) was an American Adult Educator, famous for the adoption of the theory of Andragogy — initially a term coined by the German teacher Alexander Kapp. Knowles is known and credited with being a fundamental influential professor of adult education for almost twenty years.
Andragogy is the art and science of helping adults learn. In the Andragogical theory, Knowles suggested that:
Adults are motivated to learn, as they experience needs and interests learning will satisfy, therefore, this is the starting point to organize adult learning activities.
Adults have great and deep need for applied learning and immediate usable knowledge.
Adults, neither need nor will they readily accept learning that imposed on them by another
Individual differences among people increase with age, therefore, adult education must adopt
differences in style, time, place and pace of learning.
Adults have a deep need to be self-directed, therefore, teaching with mutual inquiries with them
must be implemented, rather than transmitting information to them.
Experience is the richest resource for adult learning, therefore, the core methodology of adult
education is the analysis of experience.
Adults’ orientation to learn is life-centered; therefore, the teaching units must be life situations, not subjects.
Therefore, the teacher must:
Set a cooperative learning climate,
Create mechanisms for mutual planning,
Arrange for a diagnosis of learner needs and interests,
Enable the formulation of learning objectives based on the diagnosed needs and interests,
Design sequential activities for achieving the objectives,
Execute the design by selecting methods, materials, and resources, and
Evaluate the quality of the learning experience while rediagnosing needs for further learning.