June 2, 2021

Adult Education: What’s Different?

How is it different from K-12? Why is this important to us? Discuss Andragogy and lifelong learning.

Adult education, what’s different? Before discussing the practical differences, let’s first address the two main categories of education – pedagogy, and Andragogy. In Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, education is the science of art or the profession of teaching. However, within the work, pedagogy refers more often to the K to 12 approaches, the Socratic approach, if you will, with teachers teaching and learners listening. The information is passed on from the instructor to the student – more of memorization where the learner is dependent on the instructor for all of the learning. The teacher or trainer takes full responsibility for what is taught.

What are the types of adult education?

Andragogy assumes, however, that the learner is self-directed. The learner is responsible for their learning, and Self-evaluation is characteristic of this approach. At Andragogy, the learner brings his own experience into the learning process. Every adult learner is a source of knowledge and contributes to the overall learning experience. In this approach, a willingness to learn is more built-in than the pedagogical model. This self-motivation arises from the need to know to be more effective or achieve one’s goals.

So adult education is more focused on learning what we need to know to achieve our different life goals. The other approach to teaching is more of a necessary process to perform certain basic qualifications. It is often much less student-centered and more focused on specific outcomes focused on a set curriculum. Compared to K-12, adult education is more learner-centered in the expectation of greater participation based on life experience.

The adult education approach becomes important as the goals are above all else. The plans aim to achieve a certain task result or learn new behaviors. The adult becomes less motivated by grade averages and more motivated by achieving certain goals. In most cases, these goals are more pragmatic and focus on the learner’s specific outcomes.

In this world of 21st-century complexity, all of our senses are constantly being assaulted with different types of information. To survive and possibly even thrive, learning becomes a lifelong process, and most of us learn whether or not we know that particular term for a lifetime. In essence, what makes adult education different from our K-12 experience and possibly early college primarily is our motivation and needs. 

PIM was founded in May 2000. Based on the study of large, complex, and highly technical organizations, it has been determined that a systemic approach to organizational learning is required to optimize learning and educational experiences.


General educational advice for the adult community. 

Curriculum development 


needs analysis Knowledge management 

Educational research

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