yes, therapy helps!
Andragogy: learning in advanced ages

Andragogy: learning in advanced ages

April 2, 2024

Although learning has traditionally been associated with childhood, adolescence and youth, the truth is that the human being's ability to learn exists throughout his life trajectory.

In this article we'll see what the Andragogy , the discipline that is responsible for investigating how learning occurs at advanced ages.

  • Related article: "The 9 stages of the life of human beings"

The change of conception on aging

The term aging has been during the beginning of history linked to a connotation of deterioration and inability to effectively perform the different roles that are usually assigned to earlier stages of the life cycle. Thus, from antiquity to the last century, individuals in the aging stage have been isolated, abandoned or underestimated . This traditional trend was derived from the short life expectancy that has accompanied the human species over the centuries.

In the last decades, with the beginning and development of the industrial revolution and capitalism as an economic and social system, this nature has been substantially modified, establishing a life expectancy that borders on 80-85 years in Spain.

A change of mentality

Advances in medicine, technology , and a greater globalized knowledge derived from scientific research, as well as the development of the welfare state by political systems, have contributed to providing a higher quality of life in relation to the type of work performed (less physical), the reduction of the hours corresponding to the working day, the knowledge and application of healthy life habits, etc.

Nowadays, therefore, since the vital stage called old age begins (around 60 years of age) the individual has a long life journey ahead , which begins to move away from the old conception as a period of loss of faculties and inability to replace it with another more optimistic denomination where the subject can perform new learning, can play new roles and can live new personal and social experiences equally satisfactory.

Related to this, a new classification on the definition of the life stage of old age is distinguished in this new conception. So, currently we should take into account not only the chronological age , but also must be taken into account: the social age (assumption of roles), the functional age (adaptation to historical and cultural changes), the psychological (adaptation to different personal circumstances) and the biological (capacity of the biological organism of the indiidual) .

  • Maybe you're interested: "School failure: some causes and determining factors"

What is Andragogy?

Andragogy is defined as the discipline that studies the field of education in the adult individual, that is, the particularities of how it is produced learning in adulthood, maturity and senescence .

The establishment of this branch of pedagogy as its own area of ​​study is based on a series of characteristics that differentiate it from other similar sciences. In particular, the central assumptions are aimed at highlighting the distinction between the recipient of a particular discipline. Thus, the student or adult learner has an autonomy, a capacity for reflection, a level of previous experiences much greater than those that occur in the infant-juvenile stage.

Among the premises on which Andragogy focuses are mainly differentiated: the fact of present a personal and self-directed conception of learning , the influence of previous experience for the assumption of new learning and vice versa, an emphasis on learning applied to specific daily situations, as well as defined with a real purpose and the provision of a level of intrinsic motivation that is very significant and decisive.

  • Related article: "Types of Pedagogy: educating from different specialties"

Applications of Andragogy

Among the most relevant applications of this discipline, the following can be highlighted:

  • The stimulation of the interest of the apprentices in that the contents are linked to the resolution of real problems; the objective is not centered on the memorization of abstract and theoretical concepts.
  • The invitation to reflection through a methodology based on open questions that facilitates the effective realization of the self-assessment process of said learning.
  • The favoring of a more collective, cooperative and participatory form of work.

Theoretical bases of the andragogic model of education

The main components in the adult education model of education They focus on the following topics:

  1. is defined as a non-face-to-face and inclusive education system in which it is taken into account that each apprentice presents some concrete vital particularities, some objectives that can be very different from personal development as well as professional development.
  2. It's found adapted to the social needs of the adult , where the level of capacity, experience and learning previously acquired is respected, which is why a methodology that considers the existence of different learning styles is required.
  3. The compliance with the needs related to social advances in terms of innovation, knowledge and imagination;
  4. It is a phenomenon that it can extend throughout the life period covering different stages and periods of the individual's life.
  5. It is understood the figure of the educator as a guide and advisor , which offers its support and facilitates the learning process in a more collaborative and not so much instructional or behavioral way.

Determinants in adult learning

The factors that determine the way adult learning occurs they can be derived from external or environmental aspects and from internal or personal aspects . Among the first group can be highlighted mainly the type of life circumstances surrounding the individual learner, as what kind of objectives arises to receive such instruction (if they refer to a personal or professional purpose), what means available at the logistics level, time / schedules, etc., to invest in the process or other factors related to the social context in which it is enrolled.

Among the personal factors, the level of ability, competence and ability to learn, motivation and interest in the content, the level of tolerance to failure, emotional stability to combat concerns and uncertainties about the results obtained, cognitive skills are highlighted. such as attention, memory, language, concentration, etc., or the existence of adaptive behavioral habits, among others.

Learning in old age

As previously mentioned, the adult student has intrinsic characteristics that differentiate him from younger people. Therefore, it is essential not to lose sight of the need to adopt learning styles and methods adapted to the characteristics or peculiarities of each of the different profiles of adult learners.

So, you can give differentiations in relation to cognitive, physiological and / or affective traits s to determine how they recite the contents worked during the learning process. Based on this last phenomenon, three dimensions are distinguished on types of learning attributed to adult education: active-reflexive, the visual-verbal theorist and the pragmatic-global.

Regarding the defining characteristics of adult learning methodologies It should be noted the high participation in the classroom , a greater relationship with the context of interaction and its problems or particular situations, the learning is more oriented to the task and to the practical application of the internalized contents, the work done therefore has an interdisciplinary aspect and there is a greater possibility of generalization of the lessons learned.

On the other hand, an essential aspect is the autonomy with which each student works in relation to the lessons learned. Each individual regulates and organizes himself in terms of tasks, time invested, disposition of the study schedule, etc., as well as in the evaluation itself on how he is doing this learning. Therefore, we speak of self-planning, self-regulation and self-evaluation of learning.


As you can see, Andragogy It is a paradigm shift in the way of conceiving learning as a phenomenon intrinsically linked to childhood and youth. It is necessary to analyze and establish the differences between one type of student and another in order to adapt the methodology and type of content to ensure that such learning can take place from the first years to the last vital stages.

Bibliographic references:

  • Dorfman, L.T., et al. (2002). Incorporating intergenerational service-learning into an introductory gerontology course. In Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 39 (1/2), pp. 219-240. New York: Published by The Haworth Press.
  • Fernández-Ballesteros, R. and others. (1999). What is the psychology of old age? Spain: New Library.
  • García Mínguez, J. and Sánchez García, A. (1998). A model of education in the elderly: interactivity, Madrid: Dykinson.
  • Orosa Fraíz, T. (2001). The Third Age and the Family. A look from the elderly, Havana: Editorial Félix Varela.

CSI - Adult Education (April 2024).

Similar Articles