overview of andragogy, the 4 principles, the 5 assumptions and the design considerations

In my past role, I trained adult learners the methodology behind fraud prevention. As part of this training, they were to understand the methods of fraud and how to speak to customers about fraud prevention. Many of the adults that would come through the training had no prior background in the areas of fraud and would be learning the concepts anew.

I would incorporate andragogy in my training program by:

  1. Beginning the training with an initial discussion about their experiences with fraud, prior to the current training. This is where they would be able to bring their own backgrounds and experiences to the concepts. Allowing the learning to be built on this foundation of experience and make it meaningful to them. Also, this meaning would provide them a level of relevance to the concepts. They would reflect on their experience, which was usually negative about fraud, and it would allow them to see the direct relevance to their life.
  2. Asking them to research on their own. I would send the trainees home with a bit of ‘homework’ (my wording to be funny) to check out their own credit files. Many adults may already do this regularly, or have no knowledge at all, but either way it would allow them the autonomy to apply their newfound learning. If they wanted to, they could check out their own credit files through the lens of the fraudster and through the lens of what we would be checking in our department. This activity would maximise autonomy and make the concepts meaningful to them.
  3. Using real case practice as much as possible. Whenever the trainees would learn a new aspect of the tasks they would need to carry out, I would immediately walk them through an actual live case. This would allow them to use their newfound knowledge in problem-solving. The cases would not be pre-screened by me, so they commonly were more complex and involved more knowledge than the trainees had gained. The practice with real cases, would build on their current knowledge and help them to build more knowledge on their own.


Pappas, C. (2014, August 15). 9 Tips To Apply Adult Learning Theory to eLearning. Retrieved September 20, 2017, from

Pappas, C. (2013, May 9). The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles. Retrieved September 20, 2017, from

Smith, M. K. (2013, April 04). Malcolm Knowles, informal adult education, self-direction and andragogy. Retrieved September 24, 2017, from