Malcolm Shepherd Knowles

self-direction and andragogy

Timeline: 1913-1997


Adults are self-directed and expect to take responsibility for decisions. Adult learning programs must accommodate this fundamental aspect.
Andragogy makes the following assumptions about the design of learning: (1) Adults need to know why they need to learn something (2) Adults need to learn experientially, (3) Adults approach learning as problem-solving, and (4) Adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value.

Major Works:
Knowles, M. S. (1950) Informal Adult Education, New York: Association Press. Guide for educators based on the writer's experience as a programme organizer in the YMCA.
Knowles, M. S. (1962) A History of the Adult Education Movement in the USA, New York: Krieger. A revised edition was published in 1977.

Knowles work and theory served as a premis for military and law enforcment training. The Criterion referenced Instruction (CRI), by R. Mager is comprised of a set of methods for the design and delivery of training programs.