Andragogy vs. Pedagogy (Education for Adults vs. Education for Children)

Education is important. The problem is that what we learn in school rarely has anything to do with being able to get around in life. Learning algebra is fine for a mental skill but how does this knowledge help you have better relationships with others, make more money without relying on a job, or improve your health? It doesn’t, and that’s why so many people find ordinary education irrelevant and ultimately useless. Want to go into debt for six-figures to get a degree that won’t help you get a job and live your dreams?

The Education of Millionaires” lists the differences between self-taught education vs. education crammed down people’s throats against their will. The technical term for this difference is andragogy, which means “man-leading” compared to pedagogy, which means “child-leading.”

When you take control of your education, you focus on learning what you need to know to achieve your goals. When you let others control your education, you pass through a meaningless series of topics that often have no relevance to your life or goals, and when you graduate, you get a piece of paper that’s supposed to magically grant you access to better jobs just by virtue of the fact that you studied for a fixed number of years at an institution.

Is this insanity or what?

This is how adults direct their own education:

  • Adults need to know a reason for learning something.
  • Experience and even mistakes and errors provide the basis for learning.
  • Adults are responsible for choosing what they want to learn.
  • Adults are interested in learning subjects with immediate relevance to their lives.
  • Adult learning focuses on solving problems, not just learning for the sake of learning.
  • Adults respond better to internal motivation rather than external motivation (grades, punishment, etc.)

The idea that you can attend school for a fixed number of years, get a piece of paper, and magically be prepared for a better paying job is a fantasy. If that’s the way you’ve been going through life, be prepared for a surprise. Having an education won’t automatically give you a better paying job for the rest of your life. Being able to produce results for other people is what will give you a better lifestyle for the rest of your life.

Educating yourself doesn’t meant ignoring any forms of education like books, schools, or training. It does mean you learn what you need to achieve a greater goal that helps you produce more results for others and get paid for doing it.

Most people expect a college degree to give them automatic access to a better paying job. Wrong. Being able to bring in more money for a company or yourself is what gives you a better paying lifestyle whether you work for others or yourself.

Whether you’re working for others or yourself, you must keep learning. Don’t learn irrelevant topics like Greek history or French literature (unless that’s your passion and you know how to parlay that into helping others). Learn practical skills like marketing, sales, networking, leadership, and whatever topic you’re most passionate about.

The more you know and the more you know how to help others with what you know, the more financially secure you’ll be. The more you know alone won’t help anyone. Nobody pays you for what you know. Everyone pays you for what you can do for them with what you know. That means more knowledge is pointless unless you also know how to use that knowledge to help others solve their most pressing problems. Do that and people will gladly give you money.

Education alone is never the secret to success. Applying knowledge is the real secret to success, and that means knowing something useful and also knowing how to apply your knowledge to help others.

Knowledge alone will get you nowhere. It’s all about applying your knowledge to help others and knowing how to find people who need your help. Do that and it doesn’t really matter how much formal education you have. Your future is firmly in your own hands. The real question is what are you going to do about it?


June 9th, 2015 by
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