Scaled Management Systems

The Traditional and Contemporary Learning Models

Traditional Learning: The Pedagogical Model

The pedagogical model is the one with which all of us have had the most experience. Teaching in our elementary schools, high schools, colleges, the military service, churches, and a variety of other institutions is largely pedagogically oriented. When we are asked to serve as instructors or prepare instruction for others, the pedagogical model comes quickly to mind and often takes control of our activities. That is easy to understand since pedagogy has dominated education and training practices since the seventh century.

Five assumptions about learners are inherent in the pedagogical model:

1. The learner is a dependent personality. The teacher/trainer is expected to take full responsibility for making the decisions about what is to be learned, how and when it should be learned, and whether it has been learned. The role of the learner is to carry out the teacher’s directions passively.

2. The learner enters into an educational activity with little experience that can be used in the learning process. The experience of the teacher/trainer is what is important. For that reason a variety of one-way communication strategies are employed, including lectures, textbooks and manuals, and a variety of audio-visual techniques that can transmit information to the learner efficiently.

3. People are ready to learn when they are told what they have to learn in order to advance to the next grade level or achieve the next salary grade or job level.

4. People are motivated to learn primarily by external pressures from parents, teachers/trainers, employers, the consequences of failure, grades, certificates, and so on.

Contemporary Learning: The Andragogical Model

During the 1960s, European adult educators coined the term andragogy to provide a label for a growing body of knowledge and technology in regard to adult learning. The following five assumptions underlie the andragogic model of learning:

1. The learner is self-directing. Adult learners want to take responsibility for their own lives, including the planning, implementing, and evaluating of their learning activities.

2. The learner enters an educational situation with a great deal of experience. This experience can be a valuable resource to the learner as well as to others. It needs to be valued and used in the learning process.

3. Adults are ready to learn when they perceive a need to know or do something in order to perform more effectively in some aspect of their lives. Their readiness to learn may be stimulated by helping them to assess the gaps between where they are now and where they want and need to be.

4. Adults are motivated to learn after they experience a need in their life situation. For that reason, learning needs to be problem-focused or task-centred. Adults want to apply what they have learned as quickly as possible. Learning activities need to be clearly relevant to the needs of the adult.

5. Adults are motivated to learn because of internal factors, such as self-esteem, recognition better quality of life, greater self-confidence, the opportunity to self-actualize, and so forth. External factors, such as pressure from authority figures, salary increases, and the like, are less important.

A selection of instructive text from:

“The Adult Learner” 6th Edition, 2005
Malcolm Knowles, Elwood F Holton III, Richard A Swanson
Publisher: Elsevier Inc – Butterworth- Heinemann