Sample Education Essays on Adult Learning Theories

Task A: The Analysis and Application of Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy

The critical analysis of Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy

Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy provides an accurate analysis of adult learning processes. According to Knowles, adults should adopt a self-directed attitude and take responsibility for their actions and decisions. Adult learning processes must incorporate various fundamental facts and aspects based on different assumptions (Loeng, 2018). For instance, Knowles assumes that adults are capable of discerning relevant learning processes and lesson content through a comprehensive analysis of the problems. The theory further affirms that adults can approach learning processes through a problem-solving perspective or mindset. Lastly, the Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy stipulate that, unlike children, adults emphasize on learning topics that bring them immediate value. According to Andragogy, adults’ primary focus should be on the process, and less attention should be paid to the lesson content. They should rely on learning strategies, such as case study analyses, role-playing, and self-evaluation, to aggregate valuable information.

Notably, different competencies under Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy can help in explaining the concept of self-directed learning processes. The first competency is the individuals’ ability to develop collaborative relationships with peers, accurately diagnose their needs, and plan their learning models. They should be realistic when conducting self-evaluation and rely on various professional advices. Moreover, adults should develop the unique ability to translate their learning needs into practical objectives to accomplish their varied aspirations (Loeng, 2018). Increased reliance on consultants and helpers can help adult learners to enhance their understanding of the instructions and concepts. Knowles further argues that adults should develop exceptional abilities to identify relevant human and material resources capable of addressing various learning objectives. Lastly, they should aggregate and validate different forms of evidence that can facilitate the successful implementation of distinct learning objectives.

Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy assert that adult learning processes should offer simple explanations to various commands, functions, and operations, and people should be active participants in planning and evaluating instructions. The instruction or procedures should be practical or task-oriented with little focus on memorization. Specifically, learning activities should focus on developing practical solutions to everyday tasks. Additionally, the instructions should consider adult learners’ backgrounds and relevant materials to facilitate the implementation of the guidelines. Through such self-directed instructions, learners can develop innovative solutions and discover new things. As mentioned, Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy assert that adults should assume active participation in the planning and evaluation of the instructions (Rodriguez, 2016). They should also gain valuable experiences from their mistakes and successes during the learning activities. The adult’s primary emphasis should be on determining the immediate relevance of the learning outcomes on their personal and professional life and engagements. Overall, adult learning should focus on specific problems rather than on the nature of the particular contents.

The Application of Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy in Aviation

Aviation education focuses on different strategies associated with flying or operating a plane. The discipline relies majorly on the implementation of various instructional theories and relevant aviation instructions. Aviation students rely on the concepts of Andragogy to define and analyze multiple learning characteristics (Henley, 2017). Notably, based on Knowles’s principles, aviation students require coping teaching strategies to help them discern and analyze instructions and objectives. The complex nature of education in the aviation industry implies that reliance on traditional teaching models, including teacher-centered approaches and content-based guidelines, .As such, Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy proposes new teaching alternatives and models focusing on the development of innovative solutions and strategies.

The complex nature of instructions in aviation learning environments implies that students should integrate various characteristics associated with Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy and other pedagogical elements. Knowles identified essential constructs, such as self-concept, experience, and orientation-to-learning, and readiness-to-learn as crucial andragogical elements in aviation classrooms. For instance, based on the idea of self-concept, aviation learners should develop and apply explicit career or professional goals and objectives (Henley, 2017). They should also adopt self-directed learning models to generate subjective solutions to their varied professional challenges. Knowles further asserts that adult aviation learners should rely on self-direction to solve complex problems.

In terms of professional experience, Knowles’s principle of Andragogy asserts that aviation students should regularly interact with other related professionals, such as pilots and engineers.  For example, a freshman aviation student should visit airports and access the plane’s interiors and exteriors to have a realistic feel for their future professional engagements. The students may also seek possible opportunities to operate flight controls and learn how to conduct minor repairs from the aeronautical engineers and other relevant professionals. From such experiences, Knowles’s principle asserts that adult aviation learners should develop a clear picture of how they can apply their knowledge in their future professional engagements (Kolmos, 2019). The teachers and learners in such environments should share responsibilities towards the development of appropriate learning outcomes.

Lastly, according to Knowles, adult aviation learners should have the inner or intrinsic drive and self-motivation to acquire and master complex processes. They should develop an explicit mental picture of their professions and display the passion for discerning various learning instructions. In essence, the last element of Knowles’ principle emphasizes on the application of the orientation-to-learning model (Ozuah, 2016). According to the lesson model, aviation students should focus on the development of appropriate solutions to complex problems rather than on the theoretical content of the learning processes. Overall, Knowles’ Principles of Andragogy affirm aviation students must approach learning as an adult by focusing on problem-solving methodologies and strategies.



Henley, I. M. (Ed.). (2017). Aviation education and training: Adult learning principles and teaching strategies. Routledge.

Kolmos, J. A. (2019). General aviation pilots transition to advanced cockpit technologies and adult learning. The Collegiate Aviation Review International, 37(1).

Loeng, S. (2018). Various ways of understanding the concept of Andragogy. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1496643.

Ozuah, P. O. (2016). First, there was pedagogy, and then came Andragogy. Einstein Journal of Biology and Medicine, 21(2), 83-87.

Rodriguez, W. (2016). Analysis of Knowles’ andragogical principles, curricular structure, and adult English as a second language standards: Curriculum implications (Doctoral dissertation, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (Puerto Rico)).



Task B: The Critical Analysis of Learning Theories and Application

The Concept of Behaviorism in Aviation and Vocational Education

The concept of behaviorism refers to a systematic approach to the analysis and comprehension of human behaviors. The primary assumption underlying the theory is that most of the practices emanate from the evoked reflexes and antecedent stimuli and other external reinforcements or contingencies. In learning environments, behaviorism opines that individuals can acquire pertinent knowledge through conditioning (Henley, 2017). Notably, conditioning occurs through the learners’ constant interactions with external environments. These experiences can shape how the learners approach various systematic and observable processes. Moreover, behaviorists emphasize the critical role of cognition, emotional reactions, and subjective perceptions on the development of internal thought processes. Observable behaviors can promote independent activities among individuals in different settings and conditions.

Learners in the aviation industry and vocational training can apply different forms of behaviorism, such as classical and operant conditioning, to generate innovative solutions to complex problems. For example, under classical conditioning, aviation, and vocational learners may rely on behavioral training to establish relevant solutions to various issues. Besides, teachers in such environments may depend on the concept of operant conditioning to reinforce the students’ responses to multiple stimuli (Ahmad Sultana, & Jamil, 2020). Through this behaviorism model, learners can develop a comprehensive connection between behaviors and the perceived consequences associated with similar actions. Markedly, when the learners succeed in improving desirable outcomes, they are more likely to repeat the same procedures in developing appropriate solutions and responses to related problems.

Proponents of behaviorism theory would argue that aviation learners should focus on different observable and measurable outcomes pertinent in their future professional engagements. The focus of behaviorism theory is on the modification of the students’ behaviors to elicit desirable responses (Lenjani, 2016). Per behaviorism, aviation and vocational students can learn through association or constant exposure to related conditions. For example, aviation learners should access airports and plats frequently to automate associated triggers, the acquisition, and application of practical knowledge. Additionally, behaviorists claim that teachers in vocational and aviation training environments can apply rewards and punishments to shape or model the students’ behaviors approaches to different personal and professional challenges (McLaughlin, 2019). For example, the teachers can offer positive feedback and praise every time the students display the application of the desired behaviors.

Lastly, in aviation training, instructors can use reinforcements, such as the prospect of lucrative employment contracts, to motivate their positive performances. The instructors can also rely on the behaviorism theory to eliminate unwanted behaviors from aviation students (Algahtani, 2017). Some of these redundant behaviors may include procrastination and laziness. The primary aim of such training processes is to strengthen the student’s interactions with the environment and peers to gain valuable or relevant experience that will help them in their future professional engagements. Furthermore, teachers in vocational training environments should also apply behaviorism theory to ascertain the students’ reactions to certain complex subjects. They should also encourage the students’ continuous interactions with complex concepts to enhance their understanding and application in practical situations. Through such consistent observable and measurable responses to stimuli, behaviorists would argue that aviation and vocational students might develop personal and professional awareness.


Ahmad, S., Sultana, N., & Jamil, S. (2020). Behaviorism vs. Constructivism: A paradigm shift from traditional to alternative assessment techniques. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 7(2), 19-33.

Algahtani, F. (2017). Teaching students with intellectual disabilities: Constructivism or Behaviorism?.Educational Research and Reviews, 12(21), 1031-1035.

Henley, I. M. (Ed.). (2017). Aviation education and training: Adult learning principles and teaching strategies. Routledge.

Lenjani, I. (2016). Constructivism and Behaviorism Methodologies on special needs education. European Journal of Special Education Research.

McLaughlin, J. E. (2019). Humanism’s revival in third‐wave Behaviorism. The Journal of Humanistic Counseling, 58(1), 2-16.



The Concept of Cognitivism in Aviation and Vocational Education

Cognitivism is a unique form of learning theory, dealing with how individuals in a particular society perceive and recall vital information and solve complex challenges. The concept is useful in the construction and understanding of the mental map in the brain and reinforcing the learning processes (Evers,2019). Specifically, the cognitive theory focuses on comprehending the thinking and learning processes, perceptions, problem-solving approaches, and other cerebral activities. Proponents of cognitivism believe that learning should transform changes in behaviors, thinking, and comprehension among the learners.

Aviation and vocational training processes rely majorly on the application of cognitive sciences. For instance, instructors training aviation professionals must focus on enhancing the students’ abilities to respond to and perform various complicated procedures and tasks. Besides, aviation experts must develop exceptional skills to make adequate or relevant operational decisions. Based on their cognitive capacities, the student should know that their respective careers would expose them to multiple complex and dynamic environments (Imenda, 2018). Therefore, approaches to professional aviation education and training should focus on shaping the students’ mental capacities to develop and apply innovative and relevant solutions (Tu, 2019). The instructors should rely on on-the-job monitoring to teachthe practical application of theoretical knowledge, compartmentalizing understanding of critical processes. The on-the-job framework will help the instructors to instill cognitive thinking among the learners. The technical instructors should also encourage the students to adopt operational decision-making based on proper learning, retention, retrieval, and application of theoretical knowledge. For instance, aviation students may require cognitive science to design programs that can support various technical and technological advances and processes.

The application of cognitivism is also relevant in the operation of an aircraft. For example, students require technical skills to read, analyze, and comprehend the operational procedures in the plane. The interpretation of the physics of flights and weather patterns require cognitive skills and sharpness. As such, the technical instructors should prepare the students to become rational thinkers in their daily interactions with intelligent and complex aircraft systems (Mirski& Gut, 2018). The theory of cognitivism can also help the professionals to integrate the dynamic demands associated with the operation of the sophisticated air and transportation systems.

Aviation and vocational students undergoing various technical training programs should apply different principles of cognitivism. For instance, the instructors should encourage the students to treat the technical knowledge aggregated in such learning environments as functional components of their future professional engagements. Therefore, the learners should shape or streamline their mental processes to store, retrieve, and apply knowledge in solving complex problems. Cognitivism theory is also applicable in such technical environments because it can help learners to organize, relate, and relate innovative solutions (Al Shammari & Faulkner, 2019). For instance, during emergency landings, pilots can rely on various cognitive or rational countermeasures to identify possible malfunctions and stabilize the plane. Notably, during such situations, the pilots would rely on their analytical thought processes, professional experiences, and senses to make swift and prompt decisions. Therefore, related technical or vocation training processes should focus on the application of cognitive psychology to enhance the students’ attention span, memory, and reasoning.




Al Shammari, Z., & Faulkner, P. E. (2019). Effects of special education teachers’ specialization and teaching experience on using evidence-based cognitivist instructional strategies in Inclusion Classrooms. Teaching and Learning.

Evers, D. (2019). Streumer on non-cognitivism and reductivism about normative judgement. Journal of Moral Philosophy, 16(6), 707-724.

Imenda, S. N. (2018). On the Unity of Behaviourism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism in teaching and learning. Int J Edu Sci, 20(1-3), 86-95.[11].pmd.pdf

Mirski, R., & Gut, A. (2018). Action-based versus cognitivist perspectives on socio-cognitive development: culture, language, and social experience within the two paradigms. Synthese, 1-27.

Tu, D. (2019). Beauty and comparative education research methods: A consideration for aesthetic Cognitivism. In Interrogating and Innovating Comparative and International Education Research (pp. 34-48). Brill Sense.



The Concept of Constructivism in Aviation and Vocational Education

According to the constructivist theory of learning, students can construct meanings and knowledge from various interpretive interactions and approaches in their social and professional environments. The theory opines that students across multiple learning environments can acquire pertinent knowledge and skills actively base on their practical experiences and interactions with different backgrounds (Procter, 2019). Through constructivism theory, instructors can create and implement a learner-centered approach to various knowledge acquisition processes. Particularly, according to constructivists, learners should assume full responsibility for their own educational or learning processes. Through such self-directed approaches to education, the students can develop and match new and innovative solutions against the preexisting processes (Taber, 2018). The integration of such constructivist methods can foster the application of critical thinking skills in different situations.

The constructivism theory is applicable in different vocational and aviation training environments. For example, constructivist perceptions are relevant in aeronautical decision-making processes in the aviation industry. Learners in such complex and dynamic settings should develop the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate essential skills and creative responses to conditions to develop innovative solutions to complex problems (Bachkirova et al., 2017). Furthermore, aviation students should apply critical thinking to design accurate resolutions to emergences to avoid accidents. Technical or vocational learning should also use constructivism theory to deliver problem-based learning and curriculum to the students. The learning procedures should emphasize on the identification of problems and encourage the students to participate in cooperating, active, and apprentice-centered erudition processes. The instructors must also help the learners to apply their cognitive processes to select the best solutions to situations. Indeed, challenging the learners to explore the best ways or strategies to accomplish their responsibilities will prepare them for their future professional engagements.

The application of constructivism in the aviation and vocational training settings should integrate both rote and eidetic learning of both simple and complex ideas. For example, under eidetic learning, an aviation student can learn to interpret flight paths and charts through cognitive research. Therefore, instructions should incorporate scenario-based training in different vocational and technical environments. Through such an application of constructivism theory, the trainers can transfer critical thinking skills to the students, thus enhancing their future decision-making abilities in varied professional settings. The learners should construct their understanding and knowledge using practical experiences and interactions with different problems to enhance their technical expertise (Duit, 2016). As such, according to constructivists, the instructors’ primary emphasis should be on encouraging the students to self-reflect to generate exceptional and relevant solutions to various situations.

Using the mentioned self-reflections, teachers can facilitate the development of relatable insights and solutions. For instance, vocational learners should receive appropriate practical skills and knowledge relevant to the implementation of specific job functions. Overall, the constructivist approach or education design can promote the students’ active participation in class and the integration of diverse perceptions (Xyst, 2016). The theory can also enhance the learners’ sense of agency and the application of critical thinking, analytical, evaluative, and creative skills. In aviation and vocational education, constructivism theory can further encourage the learners to conduct self-reflection and accurate identification of viable solutions. In general, a constructivist in such technical knowledge should emphasize the application of various contextual teaching and learning capable of promoting cognition, cognitive apprenticeships, anchored instructions, and genuine assessments.


Bachkirova, T., Jackson, P., Gannon, J., Iordanou, I., & Myers, A. (2017). Reconceptualising coach education from the perspectives of pragmatism and constructivism. Philosophy of Coaching: An International Journal, 2(2), 29-50.

Duit, R. (2016). The constructivist view in science education–what it has to offer and what should not be expected from it. Investigaçôesemensino de ciências, 1(1), 40-75.

Procter, C. T. (2019). Pragmatic Constructivism in Higher Education (Doctoral dissertation, University of Salford).

Taber, K. S. (2018). Constructivism in education. Early childhood development: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications: 312. DOI:10.4018/978-1-4666-9634-1.ch006

Xyst, K. (2016). Constructivism, Dewey, and academic advising. NACADA Journal, 36(2), 11-19.



The Concept of Humanism in Aviation and Vocational Education

Humanism is a typical belief that human needs and values supersede religious perceptions. According to the proponents of Humanistic theory, human beings should create their own set of ethics to solve multiple problems and situations. The philosophical stance focuses on the intrinsic value and agency of individuals and other community members (Guajardo & Reiser, 2016). Notably, humanism was a response to the practical approaches to education seeking to encourage autonomy in the development and application of knowledge and innovation responses to various events and situations. Moreover, the theory can promote student-centered learning through teamwork and different problem-solving approaches. Humanism is applicable in vocational and aviation educational systems (Burman &Myrebøe, 2019). For instance, in aviation education, instructors can encourage learners to explore their thoughts and perceptions about various technical or complex processes (Zovko& Dillon, 2018). Humanism can help vocational students to develop the liberated spirit of free inquiry to integrate new knowledge and solutions to dynamic events.

Some aspects of humanism do not apply to aviation education. While humanists encourage people to develop free will and autonomy, aviation students must adopt certain sets of values or beliefs, among other applicable practices. For example, an aviation student must follow the provided guidelines and procedures or pre-flight preparations during takeoffs, such as closing the cabin door. Humanists would further observe that aviation and vocational students should make reasoned decisions based on their professional experiences or accumulated knowledge (Kircher, 2017). They should also use their senses and minds to perceive and comprehend complex situations and model appropriate rejoinders.

Humanists argue that individuals should rely on their intuitive feelings, speculations, and occasional flashes of inspiration to develop relevant responses to situations. For instance, during emergency landings due to unfavorable weather patterns, aviation students should prepare to use their intuitions and hunches to identify safe and secure landing zones. Therefore, despite numerous instructions and technical guidelines, humanists believe that human knowledge or sense of reason is not perfect (Radu, 2018). Thus, students should continually revise and review the nature of knowledge based on their underlying situations. During the emergency landings, the pilots should make ethical decisions based on the passengers’ safety rather than on the preexisting guideline and instructions. Through such responses, humanists would argue that pilots would display prudence, assertiveness, compassion, and benevolence.

Overall, humanism is an essential ethical life stance relevant in various learning environments. The discipline can instill the right sense of personal and professional responsibility to aviation and vocational trainees. Moreover, the instructors in such learning environments should encourage the learners to focus on the application of professional competence to address various human needs and values. For example, in the aviation industry, pilots should rely on their professional acumen to ensure safe and comfortable flights. They should develop and apply their own set of beliefs and perceptions, distanced from the popular religious beliefs and societal dogmatism. Therefore, the application of humanism in aviation and vocational education will encourage the learners to develop and apply free will and critical thinking rather than relying on fixed ideological positions.





Burman, A., &Myrebøe, S. (2019). Martha Nussbaum: Ancient philosophy, civic education, and liberal Humanism.Ancient Philosophy, civic education, and liberal Humanism.

Guajardo, M., & Reiser, M. (2016). Humanism as the foundation for global citizenship education. Journal of Research, 20(3), 241-252.

Kircher, T. (2017). Riddles of Renaissance philosophy and humanism 1. In The Routledge History of the Renaissance (pp. 75-101). Routledge.

Radu, L. (2018). Traditional Humanism in American education. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braşov, Series VII: Social Sciences and Law, 11(2), 17-22.

Zovko, M. É., & Dillon, J. (2018). Humanism vs. competency: Traditional and contemporary models of education. Journal of Educational Philosophy and Theory.