Relevance of the Knowles Theory in Distance Education
Derrick C. Darden
Tiffin University, Tiffin, USA.
DOI: 10.4236/ce.2014.510094   PDF   HTML   XML   7,189 Downloads   11,045 Views   Citations


For adult learners, online courses are becoming the preferred way for students to pursue higher education. In the online academic world, the teacher and the student alike have duties that need to be fulfilled in order for the learning process to be successful. The teacher needs to function as process designers and managers. The learner must have the motivation and discipline to fulfill the course requirements and must be highly motivated. This article explores whether the Knowles andragogy theory is relevant to distance education or not and suggests the preferred relevant instructional style for today’s adult distance learner. The andragogy model is based on four assumptions related to the concepts that adult distance learners must have the ability, need, the desire to control, and be responsible for their learning. The adult learners’ self-prospective moves from dependency to independency or self-directedness. Furthermore, the teacher must have a more practical, relevant, and self-directive and self-motivated instructional style. The conclusion found that the andragogy theory is relative and is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to adults following the assumptions outlined by andragogy model. Additionally, Knowles’ theory promotes self-directing and independence in the adult learner, but not all adult learners embrace these ideals especially if the learner lacks self-confidence.

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Darden, D. (2014) Relevance of the Knowles Theory in Distance Education. Creative Education, 5, 809-812. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.510094.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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