Andragogy or adult learning has two approaches to it: the learner centered approach and the problem-based learning (Damron-Rodriguez, 2008). Nurses and social workers become competent in their professions through these adult learning principles. In the learner centered approach, the teacher does not take the main role. It is the learner who plays the significant role.
The approach is practitioner oriented, active-interactive and cooperative (Damron-Rodriguez, 2008). Organization, analyses and synthesis of information are performed by the learner. The knowledge already known to the learner is built upon through the facilitation of the teacher. The learner comprehends better and learns more through his efforts (Damron-Rodriguez, 2008). It is more of a cooperative and creative learning. Sharing information with a group of learners produces better outcomes. Interactive factors play an important role. Learners are better equipped with problem oriented instruction. Memorization is not the method. Ideas and instruction may be challenged: the instructor will not be offended. Instructors use open-ended questions to help the learners to come out with information.
The problem-based learning is slightly different in that learning revolves around a practice-related problem (Damron-Rodriguez, 2008). This approach stimulates the learner to reorganize whatever information he has when he learns through a different method of approaching the same problem. It is case-centered, context-relevant, self-directed and is a group tutorial ((Damron-Rodriguez, 2008). Problem-based learning produces more satisfaction to people as they remember things better for a long time.
Andragogy is the methods of adult learning while pedagogy is formal instruction by a teacher. Knowles first spoke of andragogy (1984). Andragogy requires the learner to balance his responsibilities with the demands of learning while the learning in pedagogy is free of the responsibilities and more time can be spent for learning (Andragogy, Encyclopedia of Educational Technology). The role of the instructor is facilitatory in andragogy where the instructor directs their knowledge to the learners rather than provide them information first-hand. The instructor in pedagogy supplies all the information. He provides all the facts and lecturing is the usual method of transferring knowledge. The learner in andragogy has plenty of basic information and life experiences on which he builds up with added information (Andragogy, Encyclopedia of Educational Technology). Learners build a knowledge base in pedagogy but the relationship of the new information to what they already have has to be shown by the instructor. In andragogy, the learners are goal-oriented and know for what they are gathering information while in pedagogy; they are not aware of why they are learning something.
The instructor has to tell them (Andragogy, Encyclopedia of Educational Technology).
In andragogy, the self-initiated learning lasts a longer time. In pedagogy the instruction is compulsory and lasts only for a short term. The personality involved in the pedagogy would be a dependent one. This learner learns because the course has included the matter. The learner in andragogy develops the knowledge due to a problem he has faced and wants to learn to solve it. Orientation to learning is subject-centered in pedagogy while it is problem centered in andragogy. Motivation for learning in andragogy is by internal incentives and curiosity. In pedagogy, motivation is by external rewards and punishment.
The atmosphere in andragogy is a trusting one, mutually respectful, informal and warm. It is the exact opposite in pedagogy which is a formal occasion with tension, little trust and authority oriented, competitive and judgmental. The teacher does the planning in pedagogy while it is a mutual one by learners and facilitators. The needs and setting of objectives will be done by the teacher in pedagogy while it is a mutual planning in andragogy. Learning will be more of an experimental nature in andragogy. Evaluation is by the teacher in pedagogy while it is learner collected evaluation checked by peers in andragogy.
The characteristics of adult learners are that the learning would be voluntary and self-directed. Learning is usually motivated by life’s responsibilities and changes. Their learning is for immediate application. They may have set ideas, attitudes and behavior which they cannot change.
The dying patient would have all his symptoms attended to and he would be promised of a fairly painless period during his stay. He has someone to turn to when he needs consoling or comforting or pain killers when necessary. There is a chance that his spiritual needs are also cared for. Education for the nurses would change the atmosphere of the palliative care center where the patient is lying. Equipping the nurses with appropriate information to pass on to the patients and their families would mean that the terminally ill patients are well cared for and not left dying alone. They would have their family members beside them at the moment of death. The family members would be prepared for the end by the palliative care nurse. They would be counseled on bereavement. Further support by social workers would be instituted by the nurse. Research has to indicate the matter that has to be imparted to the nurse to cover all her responsibilities in the palliative care hospital.
Andragogy: Teaching adults. Web.
Damon-Rodriguez, J. (2008). Developing competence for nurses and social workers, AJN, Vol. 108, No. 9
Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in action: Applying modern principles of adult education. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.