Would it be possible for me to earn a college degree without the introduction of adult education?
During my younger years, it was my dream to finish a degree. But my family financial situation hindered me to get a degree in a formal school. Instead, I enrolled for a vocational course and got a job in a manufacturing company. I told myself that I will still pursue my study while working. I worked at night and study during day time. This situation was very challenging both for my work and my health. I did not have any choice then but to give up my study. I still wanted to finish what I started but the schedule was still complicated. I was just praying and hoping that one day it would be possible for me to go back to school that would favor my situation. And alas, it happened in one of the prestigious institution in the country– the University of the Philippines Open University.
As I read the resource materials of adult education, I immediately realized that UPOU is using the 4 principles of andragogy proposed by Knowles. (1) Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction. (2) Instruction should be task-orientated instead of memorisation – learning activities should be in the context of common tasks performed. (3) Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance and impact to their job or personal life. (4) Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-orientated. As a UPOU student, I learn best when I understand that the task I do is relevant in my life and when I am involved in constructing knowledge.
During my first term in this institution, I struggled on how I coped all the requirements needed since I followed the traditional way of learning. I read and memorized a lot and honestly at the back of my mind I was complaining that I can not see the relevance of the things that I am studying. And sad to say most of them are already forgotten. As I was getting familiar on how studying is done in this institution, I noticed that the activities provided in most of the courses I took were self-directing. This brought me a great responsibility for my own learning. Providing the course guide in every subject before the class start, helped me to plan how am I going to finish them.
My situation is supported by Kidd. He argued that adults are more likely to participate in learning programs that are held close to work and/or home areas and scheduled at times convenient for the learner. He stated that adults learn most readily if:
they are aware of the purpose of the task; can see the relevance of their learning experience; and can see the results of their learning involvement. Actually, if I really see the relevance of the topic, I am not only ready but excited to learn.
As an adult learner, I know I am responsible enough for my learning. I want to work the task in my own pace to maintain its quality and not for the sake of the output. I learn more if I internalize the topic and task gradually. Long (1983) cited studies which indicate that adult learners want to set their own learning pace; use their own learning style; have the learning schedule flexible and adaptable to individual time
restraints; be able to apply the learning and see immediate results; and have the learning activities free of coercion from the instructor and/or other learners.
Andragogy, the art and science of helping adult learn, is a breakthrough in the Philippine education for all. The introduction of adult education in the country, gives hope those who wanted to pursue their study on their own pace. I am forever grateful to the UPOU management for adapting the adult education. Without it, my dream would remain a dream.
Cyr, AV (1999), Overview of Theories and Principles Relating to Characteristics of Adult Learners: (1970s-1999), retrieved from Downloads/Cyr,%20A.V.%20(1999).%20%20Overview%20of%20Theories%20and%20Principles%20Relating%20to%20Characteristics%20of%20Adult%20Learners.pdf
Mark Field, n.d., The principles of andragogy (adult learning) and work based training- a perfect match, retrieved from https://accessrt.edu.au/the-principles-of-andragogy-adult-learning-and-work-based-training-a-perfect-match/