Three ways TCS Education System embraces the principles of andragogy

TCS Education System’s communities support the guiding principles of andragogy by providing a flexible, skills-based, and applicable learning environment.

At its core, andragogy is defined as the art and science of teaching adults. On a deeper level, however, andragogy emphasizes learning through lived experience, applied skills, and practical problem-solving. Malcolm Knowles is considered the first person to popularize the concept, defining it through six characteristics:

  • Need to know: Adults want to know why it’s important to learn something
  • Foundation: Adults use experience in learning activities
  • Self-concept: Adults want a role in deciding what to learn in their education
  • Readiness: Adults want to learn things they can apply immediately
  • Orientation: Adults want a problem-centered education rather than content-oriented
  • Motivation: Adults respond better to internal rather than external motivators

In order to create a successful environment for students, it’s important to center an educational approach around their specific needs. Learn about three ways TCS Education System communities support and advance the success of all learners.

Generating increased opportunities for field learning experiences

For many students, field work is one of the most valuable aspects of the educational experience. TCS communities embrace the principles of andragogy by providing opportunities for students to work directly in the field through internships, study abroad opportunities, and international and local partnerships. This practical skills training allows students to immerse themselves in their field of interest long before graduation, preparing them to enter into the workforce. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology understands the importance of providing students with hands-on training in their field of interest, and many of their programs integrate practicum and field experiences into the curriculum.

Offering online and hybrid learning options

For students who are juggling priorities outside of school like work and family, flexibility may be of greater value than in-person interaction. TCS communities recognize the importance of creating a flexible learning environment, and they offer online and hybrid programs that give students the opportunity to better balance other responsibilities with classes. The Colleges of Law’s Hybrid J.D. program—one of the first of its kind in California—was specifically developed to provide better access to legal education for students with priorities and responsibilities outside of school. Saybrook University also recognizes the benefits of online learning, and its Hybrid Online Learning Model allows students to earn a degree while learning online.

Creating meaningful programs that allow students to serve communities and populations

According to Malcom Knowles’ andragogy principles, adult learners benefit more from a problem-centered education that will allow them to apply what they’ve learned right away. TCS communities offer programs that provide students with meaningful experiences that can help them serve the populations they aim to work with after graduation. For example, Pacific Oaks College has a variety of programs—including a suite of Marriage and Family Therapy program specializations—which are centered around addressing the unique needs and feelings of individuals and families who are a part of certain cultural communities.

By creating an environment in which adult learners can thrive and grow, TCS and its communities affirm their commitment to advancing institutional sustainability, student success, and community impact. TCS President Michael Horowitz, Ph.D., is especially passionate about the importance of embracing andragogy principles in higher education. Read his perspective here.