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Personal Learning Theory




Over many of years theorist have studied learning theories. These theories cover many aspects of learning from child education and even adult education. Some of the theories can easily be crossed over between adult and child education. Each educator and field of learning must implement the theories that work best for the course they are teaching. An example of this is that a professor teaching nursing most likely do not have the same theories as someone who is a professor of elementary education.


The theories that I use as an educator who works in elementary education but will in the future use in adult education would be those of andragogy and self-directed learning which are very similar in theory as well as a theory that is not normally an adult learning theory, pedagogy. Andragogy is typically known as the adult learning theory. According to Western Governors University, “Andragogy learning theories focus on giving students an understanding of why they are doing something, lots of hands-on experiences, and less instruction so they can tackle things themselves.” Knowles studied this in the 1980s and showed that adults are more likely to work on education on their own they are more motivated to learn than if someone is making them learn new information. Before Andragogy was a known theory, pedagogy was the theory that had been researched and used. The basis for this theory is that “The pedagogical model assigns to the teacher full responsibility for making all decisions about what will be learned, how it will be learned, when it will be learned, and if it has been learned. It is teacher-directed education, leaving to the learner only the submissive role of following a teacher’s instructions” (WGU, 2020). Lastly is self-directed learning which is extremely like that of the andragogy. This theory has been around for hundreds of years and never became one of the formal in the 1970s. It is described as “the process where individuals take initiative in their learning—they plan, carry out, and evaluate their learning experiences without the help of others. Learners set goals, determine their educational or training needs, implement a plan, and more to enhance their own learning (WGU, 2020).

As an educator who works in the elementary setting yet someone who has been a student at two major universities these theories resonate the most with me that the theories I would like to use as a move towards possibly teaching adult education in the future. Is pedagogy theory one that is regularly used in adult education? No but normally andragogy isn’t used in elementary education, but I think they are both interchangeable. The way I think about it is, you would not want a nurse or a doctor to work on you without hands on activities and the teacher teaching in a pedagogy style classroom. They need that professor let content to learn those skills. While as I have taught Pre-Kindergarten, I have seen andragogy be used with children which is not seen due to it being known as the “adult education theory”. How is it used in Pre-Kindergarten. We are required to allow the students to learn through play and self-discovery and sometimes they learn better in that situation. UNICEF mentions the importance learning on their own and if in this case in the form of play. UNICEF states, "play should involve some degree of agency, enabling children to take on an active role and ownership in their experiences, as well as recognizing and trusting children to be capable, autonomous, and agents of their own playful learning journeys." In any classroom with any age range, that all three of these theories can be interchanged because there will always be some information that is best relayed by the teacher and then other instances to work on their own to and achieve those goals that were set.

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