Andragogy: A Need For Reinvention to Accommodate Technological Advances and Generational Learning Styles


Malcolm Knowles promoted andragogy—the art and science of adult learning—in the 1960s and 1970s. With an emphasis on learner-centered methodologies and the value of learners’ experiences, it has now become a pillar of adult education thought. Even though andragogy has greatly benefited adult education, it has not developed as quickly as it should to keep up with the quick development of technology and the shifting learning preferences of younger generations. In order for andragogy to remain relevant in the twenty-first century, I reflect on how it has become outdated.

Technical Developments

The widespread use of technology has significantly altered how information is accessed and processed by people. Social media, mobile apps, and online learning platforms have all become effective instruments for education and teamwork. The delivery of education to adults using traditional face-to-face instruction, lectures, and workshops has been the norm for many years, but andragogy has been sluggish to adopt new innovations.

Technology must be included into teaching strategies for andragogy to be relevant in the modern world. This includes providing online courses, making use of interactive media, and encouraging group learning through online platforms. Andragogy can therefore use technology to enhance learning outcomes while also meeting the varied requirements and preferences of adult learners. I have the privilege of serving as an online instructor at University of the People, which utilizes technology to provide educational opportunities to students around the world who might be, otherwise, deprived of college educations. 

Technology is advancing and the methods of delivery that worked even five years ago are becoming outdated. Just as computers and the Internet introduced new revolutions and reshaped societies and cultures, newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are biting at the heels of every institution and creating an angst that has gripped us so quickly that many institutions are doing little more than reacting, rather than responding.

Age-Based Learning Styles

Andragogy must take into account the shifting learning preferences of new generations in addition to the technical change. For example, Generation Z and Millennials have grown up in a largely digital society and are used to multitasking, instant information access, and social network collaboration. These generations place a high priority on personalisation, flexibility, and hands-on learning, which are not always compatible with more conventional andragogical methods.

Andragogy must develop and adopt teaching strategies that take into account these new generations’ preferred learning styles in order to better meet their demands. This can entail implementing flipped classrooms, where students complete assignments online before attending in-person sessions, or applying gamification strategies to make instruction more interactive and interesting. Additionally, andragogy and the learning preferences of younger generations can be reconciled by placing a strong emphasis on problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration in educational activities.


In conclusion, throughout the past few decades, andragogy has significantly shaped adult education. But it hasn’t changed as quickly as technology has, or as new generations’ learning preferences have changed. Andragogy needs to reinvent itself in order to be current and effective by embracing technological advancements and changing its methods of instruction to fit the learning preferences of modern adults. By doing this, andragogy can help people realize their full potential as lifelong learners and continue to offer helpful advice in the field of adult education.

Scholars and educational experts need to begin a dialogue that looks at how AI can be embraced and incorporated into the 21st Century learning environment. Rather than direct all of our current resources to policing and finding ways to combat the use of AI, I contend that resources are better spent thinking outside the box and reinventing and redefining the way we “do” education.

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