Pedagogy vs. Andragogy - What Is the Difference?

As the rapidly develops, we are constantly forced to learn something new, for example, to learn how to use new technologies and implement them into our work.

Considering all this, today it is important for both teachers and students of any age to know the basics of pedagogy and andragogy and their differences. In this article, we will dive into these two methods , and tell you everything, from definitions to the advantages and disadvantages of each of these sciences.

What Is Andragogy?

Andragogy is a scientific field that studies the educational process, taking into account the characteristics and needs of adults, including principles, methods and learning strategies focused on independence, experience, motivation, and specifics of students.

Since adults are often more motivated in learning than children, in order to teach adults, the focus of attention in andragogy shifts to the development of the skills adults need. For example, if in pedagogy, a teacher has a task to capture a child’s attention with colorful pictures, then in andragogy, you can focus on the theoretical part; that is, methods of memorizing information, and on the practical component.

In andragogy, it makes sense to support students in the development of new ideas, in the development of independent thinking, and the study of new approaches to the task or problem.

The Principles of Andragogy

  • Why and how: For adults, more than for children, it is necessary to understand what they are learning for. Without a reason, without a specific end goal, there will be no motivation. Basically, people acquire new skills because it should help them move up the career ladder or get a job in a prestigious company.
  • Experience: Adults come to study already having some background in some field. And this undoubtedly needs to be taken into account when developing an adult curriculum. Let's imagine that two people went to Python programming courses. But one of these students already knows JavaScript, and the other does not know any programming languages. Of course, in this situation, the first student will master Python much faster, since he has experience in programming, while another student without experience will need more time and more effort.
  • Self-concept: Adults have long moved from dependent learning to independent learning, which significantly affects their motivation and autonomy. Therefore, this important factor should also be taken into account when designing training courses.
  • Readiness: Most adults have jobs, so training should go beyond the usual 9-to-5 framework, otherwise people simply will not have the opportunity to attend classes. Education should be flexible and easily adaptable to students.
  • Focus on real problems: Most adults and working people do not need theoretical skills, but practical skills that are easily applied in life. Therefore, during training, you need to focus on real problems and look for ways to solve them.
  • Intrinsic motivation: For andragogy to be most effective, it’s important to give adults intrinsic, or internal, motivation by recognizing their success and promoting increased self-esteem and confidence. With a more nuanced and advanced hierarchy of needs than children, adult learners place more value on self-actualization.

What Is Pedagogy?

Pedagogy is an interdisciplinary field of knowledge, science and practice that studies the processes of education, training, and personal development, taking into account psychological, physiological, and socio-cultural characteristics, and exploring the laws and principles of pedagogical interaction in and outside educational institutions. In other words, the task of the teacher is to give students the opportunity to learn from their own experience, to show an example of behavior.

Types of Pedagogy

  1. Authoritarian: Adherents of this style consider students not equal partners of the educational process, but objects of influence. The teacher separates himself from the children's collective as a whole, and from each child. This approach is characterized by the extensive use of instructions and orders, the execution of which is always supervised by the teacher himself.
  2. Democratic: Teachers who choose this style of teaching activity treat students with respect and kindness, and strive to build equal relations with them. They are patient and tolerant, creating a calm, warm, and at the same time businesslike atmosphere in the classroom. All this provides conditions for the successful development of a child's personality, and forms respect and love for the teacher.
  3. Liberal: This style of teacher activity is characterized by the fact that children show educational and personal initiative. The teacher practically does not use any control methods. The needs and initiative of the child are put at the forefront. This style of teaching, on the one hand, teaches children to self-organize their learning, but on the other hand, not all children can cope with this, so a responsible teacher comes to the rescue.

Pedagogy and Andragogy Examples

When studying pedagogy vs. andragogy, it is important to understand the examples of the application of these sciences. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with the techniques in pedagogy and andragogy listed below.

Pedagogy Examples:

  • The "mosaic of knowledge" method: Breaking down the educational material into small fragments and sequentially studying them, and then combining them into a complete picture, which helps the student to better assimilate the information.
  • Interactive lessons: Using games, discussions, and group projects to activate students and keep their attention on the lesson.
  • Using visual aids: Illustrations, diagrams, and other images help to visualize information, making it more understandable and memorable.
  • Formation of associations: Linking new information with already known facts or student's experience, which simplifies assimilation and memorization.
  • A variety of teaching methods: Moving students from a lecture format to practical classes, discussions, and project activities to increase interest and motivation.

Andragogy Examples:

  • Building specific skills (determined through training needs analysis) among employees and managers to help achieve strategic goals.
  • Developing a la carte training programs where employees map out their own development, which increases the viability of internal applicants for lateral or upward movement.
  • Using organization-wide training programs to drive organizational change and support Lean / Continuous Process Improvement initiatives (which are aimed at engaging employees at all levels to make changes to improve systems, productivity, and efficiency, and to eliminate waste).

What Are the Differences Between Andragogy and Pedagogy?

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Andragogy and Pedagogy?

Pedagogy and andragogy each have their advantages and disadvantages, which are important to know about. What is better: pedagogy vs. andragogy?

Advantages of pedagogy:

  1. Helps to form a culture of education and upbringing in society.
  2. Promotes personal development through education.
  3. Ensures the transfer of knowledge and values from generation to generation.
  4. Helps to develop creative and critical thinking in students.
  5. Helps to form social skills and adapt to society.

Disadvantages of pedagogy:

  1. Rigid teaching methods may not take into account the individual needs and abilities of students.
  2. Insufficient attention to the practical significance of the educational material.
  3. Possibility of losing interest in learning due to the monotony of the methods.
  4. Limitations of traditional forms and methods of teaching in the era of rapid technological development.
  5. Insufficient attention to the development of personal qualities of students due to a bias in behavioral and normative aspects of education.

Advantages of andragogy:

  1. Takes into account the needs and characteristics of adult learners, such as experience, motivation, and independence.
  2. Stimulates self-education and self-development of adults.
  3. Based on respect for the individuality and experience of each student.
  4. Helps to overcome stereotypes and pressure from society in adult education.
  5. Creates a favorable environment for productive learning through an individualized approach to each student.

Disadvantages of andragogy:

  1. It requires additional effort and time on the part of the teacher to adapt the methods to the characteristics of adults.
  2. It may be less effective in teaching some technical or specialized skills where strict instruction is required.
  3. It is not always possible to evaluate adult learning outcomes using traditional assessment methods, as some changes may not occur immediately.
  4. Not all teachers have sufficient experience and skills to successfully implement andragogical approaches.
  5. It may require a more flexible organization of the learning process and monitoring of academic performance, which requires additional efforts on the part of educational institutions.

Adult Learning

Understanding the distinction between pedagogy vs. andragogy might appear trivial at first glance, but it holds the key to transforming lackluster learning experiences into engaging, vibrant adult education journeys. It's not about suggesting that children and adults always have entirely different learning styles — both demographics, for instance, respond positively to engaging tools like animation and gamification.

The crux lies in the unique motivations that drive adult learners. Adults bring to the table a wealth of past learning experiences, personal strategies that have proven effective, and ingrained habits that shape their approach to acquiring and processing new knowledge. Consequently, employing a conventional pedagogical approach with adult learners could inadvertently lead to disinterest and detachment.

Andragogy, therefore, challenges educators to forge connections between current learning experiences and the rich tapestry of knowledge that adult learners already possess. By permitting individual viewpoints, adapting the pace of learning, and incorporating regular knowledge assessments, adults can effectively leverage their existing knowledge reservoirs to grasp unfamiliar subject matter.

Consider it a hidden gem in the realm of adult education: Andragogy opens the doors to a lifelong learning journey, tailor-made for continuous personal growth and development.

Although andragogy has gained widespread acceptance within adult learning communities, there exist critics who question its universal applicability. The primary contention against andragogy is its assumption that all adults are inherently self-directed learners, a notion that doesn't always hold true. In reality, many adults thrive when provided with structured guidance during the learning process.

Take, for instance, an employee learning a new software application. While some individuals may excel at independently navigating and mastering the program, others may benefit significantly from structured support to ensure successful knowledge acquisition.

This is where pedagogy steps in. Pedagogy, characterized by its teacher-centered approach, focuses on furnishing learners with clear structures and comprehensive guidance. In the context of our software training example, the employee would likely benefit from a step-by-step walkthrough with a dedicated trainer.

While andragogy emphasizes a learner-centric paradigm, pedagogy leans towards a more instructor-focused model. Neither approach is inherently superior or inferior; rather, their effectiveness varies depending on the learner and the specific learning context at hand.


Both approaches to learning, pedagogy and andragogy, are foundations of the educational process. Knowing the difference between these approaches helps teachers to better support students of all ages. By blending aspects of both pedagogy and andragogy, educators can create engaging learning environments that cater to the needs of learners at different stages of life and learning.


What is the difference between andragogy and pedagogy?

Pedagogy is the science of teaching children, while andragogy is the science of teaching adults. The main difference is the age of the students.

What are the 5 pedagogical approaches?

Teaching children may be done using 5 different approaches: Constructivist, Collaborative, Integrative, Reflective, and Inquiry-Based Learning.

What is an example of pedagogy?

A typical example of pedagogy is a classroom where a teacher leads a group of students through structured lessons, assignments, and assessments, following a set curriculum to impart knowledge and guide learning.

What are some andragogy teaching styles?

Andragogy refers to the methods and approaches used in adult education and is directed towards self-actualization, gaining experience, and problem-solving.