A Broader Look at The Role of Andragogy in Engineering Education
Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)
Center for Innovation and Engineering, Civil and Mechanical Engineering
American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference
The word pedagogy is commonly used to describe teaching techniques and practices;
however, the root of the word actually denotes ‘leading’ or teaching children. The assumptions
inherent in this description may be incompatible with the desired outcomes and goals in
undergraduate engineering education. This work builds on previous effort which explored
whether the term andragogy, translated as ‘leading man’ or the education of adults, is a more
appropriate term to achieve the outcomes of engineering educators and engineering societies.
The previous paper used a case study approach to explore documents related to mechanical
engineering and the guiding documents of one mechanical engineering program and its key
stakeholders. The work showed that there was a disconnect between the term pedagogy and the
attributes required of mechanical engineers and desired of graduates of the program, particularly
when it came to assumptions about the nature of the students.
The purpose of this paper is to expand upon the previous mechanical engineeringcentered
single case study and determine the applicability of andragogical learner assumptions to
additional engineering disciplines and programs. This study examines the guiding literature of
various engineering disciplines for evidence to support an andragogical orientation toward
undergraduate students. In addition, the study examines strategic documents associated with
multiple engineering programs to explore whether the findings of the single case study could
transfer to other engineering program related contexts. Finally, the study steps beyond
engineering programs to examine emerging andragogical literature. This literature survey
provides engineering educators a glimpse into the next evolution of how an andragogical
approach to undergraduate learners may be applied to the engineering education enterprise and
accommodate more than just older, more experienced learners.
Novoselich, Brian; Freisinger, Gregory M.; and Melnyk, Richard, "A Broader Look at The Role of Andragogy in Engineering Education" (2018). West Point Research Papers. 31.
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