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Why the “Why” Matters to Adult Learners

The word pedagogy continues to be bandied about in higher education despite increasing numbers of adults returning to the classroom. Additionally, online asynchronous courses continue to expand, making it harder for faculty members to gauge student comprehension of material and for adult learners to feel connected to the material. Thus, faculty, particularly those teaching in online graduate programs, need to emphasize the six andragogical principles developed by Knowles (1995). Knowles’ assumptions are that adults:

are independent and have a strong concept of self,rely on their background and previous experiences,seek to learn based on external influences,attempt to connect learning to everyday applications,are inherently motivated to learn,require rationale or the “why” of assignments.

Explaining the “why”

As a public and academic library director, I routinely explain policies and why preparing for unforeseen events is essential. This type of exploration and long-range planning has allowed libraries across the country to quickly adapt to COVID-19 closures. It is also something I embedded into my Library and Information Studies (LIS) curriculum as a new faculty member in the fall of 2020. After all, my entire professional career has been helping people answer questions: “Where do I find…,” “How do I search for…,” “Why do I need to know…,” “When will I ever use….”

Originally posted at Faculty Focus