Why New Trainers Must Migrate From Pedagogical to Andragogical Methodology


I address new trainers because I am sure seasoned veterans in the training industry have already done this, but in any case, it is not too late for the more experienced of us to consider reviewing our delivery style.

Why do we need to make our trek from pedagogy to andragogy?

You see, it all boils down to the answers to two questions.  What do we trainers want from the people we train? And what do we NOT want?

We want to see them enjoy learning from us and we want them to open up and share their experiences (or frustrations as the case may be) in the learning process. We want to enrich and be enriched, impart knowledge and have wisdom boomerang back to us.

And we do not want to bore and be bored.

First of all, pedagogical methods are very dependent on the trainer. The trainer is the teacher, the training room is a classroom or lecture hall, and the modules are dry. It is a unilateral communication of information: the trainer is fully-responsible for how the “lessons” go and evaluates the learning process while the participant is a mere “student” who does not have much say in the whole activity.

While this may be appropriate for an academic teaching and learning scenario, it is a guaranteed sleeping pill for adults who attend a corporate training programme expecting his mastery in a certain skill or subject to improve markedly over two training days.

By using andragogical methods however, the training participant is made to be responsible for his own learning and is encouraged to evaluate himself.  The training room is a big “brainstorm-tank” full of professionals and executives each with their own understanding, capability or experience related to the skill or subject of the training programme, instead of an uninspired classroom.  The trainer changes roles from “instructor” or “teacher” or “lecturer”, to “facilitator”, “coach”, and “encourager”, inspires participants to critically-analyse the information delivered to them vide the training syllabus vis-à-vis their own experiences and the experience of the group collectively, for an all-rounded learning experience. A good trainer will know how to tap the rich resources from participants and blend them with the training modules to create synergised knowledge of practical value.

While the pedagogical way dictates to participants what they have to learn to upskill themselves, the andragogical technique encourages enthusiasm for adult learners to gather more skills by deciding how and what they want to learn, using the modules as a guideline. Trainers can break the dull routine of sequencing modules to letting the programme run on a natural course and adapting the training pace and modules to go along with the flow of the ongoing discussion in the training room. Trainers must be able to deliver outside what is on the PowerPoint, answer questions on their feet, and  “twist” the topic to bring in the element of relevance to real-life issues and problems in order for participants to gain maximum value from the programme that will help them perform a certain task, solve a problem or have more satisfaction at work.

Most importantly, whatever the programme, trainers must instill excitement and confidence in the participants to apply or use the skills or knowledge harvested from the training programme. Participants must be made to feel the “I can’t wait to show my colleagues or boss what I’ve learned” feeling. Trainers need to appreciate that even adults need recognition, so engage them in discussions and activities which give reason to praise, acknowledge or recognise them. Respect them as professionals instead of looking at them as mere “trainees”.  They will remember what you imparted to them, but more importantly they will remember you for the difference you brought to their learning experience.


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