What Is Knowles Theory?

When dealing with adult education theories, huge credit is always given to the so-called “Father of Adult Learning” — Dr. Malcolm S. Knowles. His premise, more popularly termed as “andragogy,” espouses the following assumptions: the need to know, learning self-concept, role of learners’ experience, readiness to learn and orientation to learning.

These ideas are said to be important to formulating instructional design in health care organizations in order to make them more effective.

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Health care organizations are geared towards meeting the health care needs of diverse populations especially among bigger groups. Along this line, instructional designs must be carefully planned so that the objectives of the organization and its stakeholders will be satisfied.
Malcolm Knowles’ theory of andragogy allows coordinators and managers to construct activities, situations and undertakings that are important components pertinent to the learning atmosphere of adult members and recipients of particular health care organizations.
Applying Knowles’ theory, health care organizations must produce instructional designs that will give an overview to adult learners’ expectations of its programs. Organizers and their beneficiaries must be able to make independent decisions that will give them self-direction and take responsibility for them.
Their endeavors must be enriching in that learning can be facilitated accordingly. The learners must also be trained to cope effectively with various life circumstances to become well-adjusted individuals. And finally, motivation must be instilled upon the learners in order to make the health care organization sustainable and cohesive.
2. Explain why behavioral and cognitive theories are especially relevant to curriculum development in nursing.
Some institutions of higher learning which offer a degree in nursing have problems as to the capacities of their nursing graduates who become registered nurses in terms of doing the actual nursing job.
They may be educationally excellent but problems regarding the services they render may undergo shallow areas because they lack the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for a particular nursing situation due to a deficient and weak nursing curriculum during the course of their education. It is not their fault, however, because these were what they learned inside the nursing school.
Cognitive and behavioral theories are fabricated mainly to better understand and help human beings in the face of various life situations. Nursing, on the other hand, is a field of study that deals generally on providing health care needs of sick patients.
Seeking a viable association of these two issues, it can therefore be said that cognitive and behavioral theories play an important role in establishing an effective and comprehensive nursing curriculum which would cover what the learner needs to know about nursing. It is also significant in terms of applying such theories in actual nursing practice itself.
With the proper use of behavioral and cognitive theories, the nurse upon finishing a degree in nursing can better perform the job since he is well-equipped with knowledge, skills and attitudes relevant to the practice of nursing.
In this sense, it is thus a requirement that the nursing curriculum must fit according to what humans actually need in the health care setting, say in a hospital, clinic or home care. And with an effective nursing curriculum, health care delivery among nurses can be facilitated more appropriately according to the needs of patients.
Atherton, J. (2005). “Knowles’ Andragogy.” Retrieved 30 April 2008, from http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/knowlesa.htm Dover, K.H. (n.d.). “Adult Learning Theory.” Retrieved 30 April 2008, from http://adulted.about.com/cs/adultlearningthe/a/knowles.htm

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