Pedagogy & learning theories in staff training

Education is no longer a process situated in formal settings of educational institutions. Rapidly developing, highly specialised knowledge requires from us to become lifelong learners. Adult learners have unique characteristics. Adults learn best in informal, comfortable, flexible, non-threatening settings.

Education is no longer a process situated in formal settings of educational institutions. Rapidly developing, highly specialised knowledge requires from us to become lifelong learners (Blondy, 2007). Adult learners have unique characteristics. Andragogy, popularised by Knowles, evolves around “the notion that adults learn best in informal, comfortable, flexible, non-threatening settings” (Knowles, 1990, p.54) where they could organise and self-direct their learning. Among the features influencing the way adult education is organised, Lawson (1979) lists attention to learner needs (transpiring in service orientation) and a student-centred approach where teaching is perceived as a personal discovery or a journey through learning situations. Implications of these characteristics in learning programmes design turned the andragogy into the overarching pedagogy of my project. It is both a theory and a practical approach to the artefact design.

George Siemens (2005) places learning in the digitally connected world and describes it as Connectivist, and influenced by the technological developments and innovations. Connectivist nature of learning transpires in the assumption that meaning and understanding come from accessing and connecting clusters of information (Carlile & Jordan, 2003).

In both above contexts, the motivation is important “not only because it apparently improves learning but also because it mediates learning and is a consequence of learning ” (Wlodkowski, 2008, p.6). Motivational tactics could be integrated with teaching strategies. An example would be focusing programme design model around four areas of motivational influence, namely Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction (ARCS model)(Keller & Suzuki, 2004). G. Salmon’s motivational model (McKenzie, 2008) or motivational strategies evolving around factors such as Inclusion, Attitude, Meaning and Competence proposed by Wlodkowski (2008) are another possibilities.


Carlile, O., & Jordan, A. (2003). It works in practice but will it work in theory? the theoretical underpinnings of pedagogy. Retrieved from

Blondy, L. (2007). Evaluation and application of andragogical assumptions to the adult online learning environment. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 6(2), 116-130.

Keller, J. M., & Suzuki, K. (2004). Learner motivation and E-learning design: A multinationally validated process. Journal of Educational Media, 29(3), 229-239. doi:10.1080/1358t65042000283084

Knowles, M. S. (1990). The adult learner: A neglected species (4th ed. ed.). Houston: Gulf Pub. Co.

McKenzie, K. (2008). Using online technology to facilitate staff training. Learning Disability Practice, 11(6), 30-35. Retrieved from

Lawson, K. H. (1979). Philosophical concepts and values in adult education (Rev. ed. ed.). Milton Keynes, Eng: The Open University Press.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10. Wlodkowski, R. J. (2008). Enhancing adult motivation to learn: A comprehensive guide for teaching all adults (3rd ed. ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint.

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blog cover - three domains of learning
Everyone learns differently, with various motivations, environments and deliveries providing people with alternative methods of receiving and retaining information. Teachers use different approaches to learning to target different types of learners, making their lessons engaging and stimulating. Learn how learning happens and how to use domains to improve your design.
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