rom past years has resulted to several models, assumptions and principles as well as explanations that fully support adult learning and act as a base for improvement, it’s certain that none of these theories is bound to have significant help on all adult students. Understanding this fact in addition to knowledge on the adult learning theories helps adult educators effect their practice. Several theories have been put forward and they include: andragogy, self-directed learning, active learning, transformational learning, problem solving and problem based learning, multiple intelligences, theory of learning conditions among many others.
The principle of andragogy was established by Malcolm Knows (1980) in an effort to differentiate the means by which adults learn from those of young ones. This was the basis of all other theories as it tends to emphasize that adults are self directed and are anxious of being involved in decision making. . Malcolm contrasted this principle with the art of teaching a child referred to as pedagogy. His contrast was based on several assumptions about adult learners that in addition to them knowing the reason to study something, the content has to have immediate value. Another assumption is that adult learners also approach learning as a way of solving a particular problem and thus learning should be done experientially. Malcolm also pointed out that the motivation to study is more from internal factors than any external pressure. Therefore, andragogy calls for a clear explanation as to why the student should acquire knowledge on something and any adult tutor should adhere to it. However the principle of student incentive to self decision neglects the fact that the teacher should act as the primary source of information, knowledge and to some extent direction (Brookfield 2003). This draws back the andragogy to some point.
Studies have shown that a great percentage of adult learning is self-directed (Cross 1981) whereby they take full