A term popularized by Malcolm Knowles, andragogy refers to the theories and principles related to how self-directed, independent adults learn.

The first known use of andragogy was made by Alexander Kapp in 1833. Kapp used the term to describe a focus on the development of inner qualities ('character') in adults.

Malcolm Knowles used the term andragogy (meaning man-led) to differentiate from pedagogy (child-led), proposing a difference between the way adults and children learn, and formulating a theory of adult learning.

Knowles' andragogy puts forth principles of adult learning:

1. Need to know: Adults require a reason for learning something.

2. Foundation: Experience

3. Self-concept: Adults need to be involved and responsible responsible for their learning, including the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

4. Readiness: Adults want to learn things relevant to their lives and concerns.

5. Orientation: Adult learning is problem-centered, not content-oriented.

6. Motivation: Adults respond best to intrinsic motivation.

There is some debate about the differentiation made between andragogy and pedagogy, with critics suggesting that Knowles work is light on evidence and does not support modern understanding of how humans learn.

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