Post 2: Andragogy vs. Pedagogy

Throughout my years as a teacher and student, I have become very familiar with the concept of pedagogy. I don’t think it’s possible to to be a K-12 teacher without having some familiarity with this slightly overused and many times misinterpreted term.

For anyone who may be reading this that may be unfamiliar with this term, I used to describe the term pedagogy as a one’s method of teaching learners. However, since I have been introduced to the term andragogy, I would like to add that pedagogy should also be primarily used when referring to non-adult learners.

(Now you may be asking yourself, What is a non-adult learner? Who qualifies as a non-adult learner? – I will discuss this in a later post).

On another note, the concept of andragogy is new to me. Oxford languages describes andragogy as, “the method and practice of teaching adult learners; adult education“.

So, besides the actual age of the learners, what distinguishes the practice of andragogy from pedagogy?

In regards to instruction, andragogy is used by implementing instructional methods that provide learning for adult learners to access to learn while pedagogy is used by implementing instructional methods that attempt to teach non-adult learners.

Due to the different daily life and responsibilities of adult learners, there is much to consider when providing them with meaningful learning experiences.

In summary, as Instructional Designers we should not approach adult learners expecting to teach them as if we were walking into a high school classroom to instruct an AP U.S. History class. Instead, when creating learning exercises for adults, we should continue to ask ourselves, “Am I teaching this or am I providing a variety of learning opportunities for all different types of adult learners?”


Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L. L. (2018). Adult learning: linking theory and practice. Vancouver, B.C.: Langara College.

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