Examples of Teaching and Learning Experiences

It is clear from this review that educational theorist and their theories have been influential in enriching learning experiences for both learners and educators throughout the years. These educational theories also created challenges for educators to design programs which were more action based for diverse learners, rather than continuing to teach adults from a pedagogical standpoint. Existing theories provide frameworks and models, each of which contribute to our understanding of adults as learners. The whole premise of teaching is for students to learn in order to make informed decisions. Therefore, it is critical that facilitators understand competing elements at the learner’s level in order to provide educational offerings that will have an impact on learning.

Nursing education has gone through many changes over the decades and this paradigm shift, moving from content-driven instructor-centered approaches used in traditional nursing education, to the new conceptual driven framework, is enriching yet challenging at the same time. It is the innovative educational programs and educators that provide the foundation to help nursing use its voice and propel the profession forward. An understanding of andragogical principles, readiness to learn, being self-directed, a need to know, use of experiences, internal motivation, and orientation to learning (Merriam et al., 2007) will add depth to moving forward into the teacher’s role. Take, for example, self-directed learning describes a process by which individuals take the initiative, with or without the assistance of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identify human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating their learning outcomes. Andragogical principles can promote critical thinking when used with a novice or experienced staff nurse, and create an opportunity for the overall enrichment of the learner’s educational experience.

In utilizing the andragogical approach an educator’s armamentarium must incorporate components of multiple teaching strategies such as visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learning styles, storytelling, simulation, and game playing to maximize critical thinking and greater learning retention among learners. Reflecting on my orientation to a new facility, and being a novice in the perioperative scrub nurse role in the operating room, I realized the significance of the andragogical principles in the orientation phase of my training. For example, having the knowledge of Knowles andragogical principles lead me to quickly recognized frustrations which developed during the course of the orientation. The primary contributing factor was best described by Brookfield (1995) who stated, “How we were taught profoundly influences how we teach.” The preceptors at this facility were only focused on what they thought the learning needs should be, the technical skills of the job; whereas I identify a disconnect in the cognitive and interpersonal or relational domain in the learning and training needs. With a disconnection in the cognitive and relational domain of training lead to a disenchanted learning experience.

How will you use andragogy in your own teaching?


Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Imel, S. (1998). Transformative learning in adulthood. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?q=Transformative+Learning+in+Adulthood&id=ED423426

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