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Axiology of Didactics of adults D. Kolba and andragogical styles of teaching in higher education


Andragogical paradigm of organization of educational process in high school: psychodidactic aspect

2. Axiology of Didactics of adults D. Kolba and andragogical styles of teaching in higher education

Didactics of adults D. Colb and taking into account andragogical styles of study in higher education is a psychodidactic basis for the implementation of the andragogical paradigm. The system approach to adult education organization proposed by D. Colb provides for a clear structuring of adult learning activities in the form of a two-level learning model (perception and reflection), which involves four stages: (1) concrete experience, (2) observation and reflection (3) the formation of abstract concepts and (4) application in new situations. The peculiarities of adult perception and reflection determine the style of his studies and approaches to its inclusion during vocational training.

Well-organized informational streams ensure the effectiveness of adult education. Bill Gates admitted: «Exactly how you collect, organize and use information will determine whether you win or lose».

It is actual for individual knowledge and learning. The person who has knowledge retains competitive advantages. Since a great half of our knowledge becomes obsolete for about three years, we must constantly replenish it. If a person stops learning, he quickly finds himself on the sidelines of life. Permanent learning is a prerequisite for success in life, and knowledge of one's own style of knowledge facilitates this process.

According to our style of cognition, our characteristic perception and interpretation of information are determined, as well as our reaction to it. The cognitive style has two main measurements: (1) the method for collecting information and (2) the method for evaluating and using information. They are investigated by The Learning Style Inventory – LSI25.

D. Kolb's concept proceeds from the fact that an individual receives information, and pays attention, assimilates some types of information on a greater degree than other.

At the heart of all theories of individual learning style lies a single premise – all individuals perceive, process and present information in different ways. According to D.

Kolb26, each person has its own individual learning style, which is a combination (blending) in various proportions of the four main styles mentioned above. Knowledge of its own individual style of learning, firstly, helps to use its strengths, for example, in

25 Kolb, A.Y., & Kolb, D.A. (2005). The Kolb Learning Style InventoryVersion 3.1: 2005.

Technical Specifications. Haygroup: Experience Based Learning Systems Inc.

26 Kolb, D. A. (1976). The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual. Boston, Ma.: McBer; Kolb, D. A. (1981). ‘Learning styles and disciplinary differences’. in A. W. Chickering (ed.) The Modern American College, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; Kolb, A.Y., & Kolb, D.A. (2005). The Kolb Learning Style InventoryVersion 3.1: 2005. Technical Specifications. Haygroup: Experience Based Learning Systems Inc.

Andragogical paradigm of organization of educational process …

building a career, and, secondly, it allows conducting purposeful work on compensation and elimination of its weaknesses. As foreign authors note, knowledge of their individual learning style helps students «move on higher levels of their personal and cognitive functioning» (Knox A., 1986). However, the maximum effect is achieved through the usage of knowledge about the individual learning styles of their students by the teachers, that is, when applying the theory of adult learning which is based on the experience in the teaching process. At the same time, we should not forget D. Kolb’s warning that the individual learning style is not established once and for all the times, and may change with the passage of time and circumstances.

The picture shows two dimensions of cognition: information gathering (concrete experience is contrasted here with abstract conceptualization) and reaction to information (reflexive observation is contrasted with active experimentation here)27.

Each position or inclination is the result of choice. Thus, it is almost impossible to simultaneously control a car (specific experience) and analyze engine characteristics (abstract conceptualization). The study of the possible value of information (reflexive observation) cannot be combined with an experienced test of its significance (active experimentation). Researches of these cognitive measurements have shown that regardless of the nature of the problem that the person faces with, during the studying it, he, as a rule, retains his inherent style of cognition. He is towards the well-defined situations and types of problems which correspond to his inherent style of cognition (for instance, individuals who embrace abstract conceptualization and active experimentation, prefer problems that allow step-by-step resolution)28.

27 Kolb, D. A. (1976). The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual. Boston, Ma.: McBer.

28 Kolb, D. A. (1976). The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual. Boston, Ma.: McBer; Kolb, A.Y., & Kolb, D.A. (2005). The Kolb Learning Style InventoryVersion 3.1: 2005. Technical Specifications. Haygroup: Experience Based Learning Systems Inc.

Vira Vyhrushch, Anatoliy Vykhrushch

Cycle of Kolb's learning styles and in-class activities (1984)29

Structurally functional approach to the study of styles of activity is based on the selection of the main stages and functions of the activity. At present, methods based on D. Kolb's training model dominate in western pedagogy.

In the early 1980s, J. Mezirow, P. Freire and others showed that at the basis of any learning is the processing of experience, or rather, the critical reflection of experience. They viewed learning as a three-phase cycle, which begins with getting of specific experience (first phase), continues with reflection (second phase), which leads to certain actions (third phase) giving a new concrete experience for the reflection (Rogers A., 1996).

Within the framework of this theory of learning based on experience (Experiential Learning Theory – ELT), D. Kolb developed its own learning model (Kolb D., 1976, 1981, 1984, 1998; Kolb D., Fry R., 1975; Kolb D., Lublin S., Spoth J., 1986, etc.). D. Kolb singled out two parts in reflection: perception and processing.

Thus, he added another stage, which he called «Abstract Conceptualization». If at the stage of critical reflection a person considers a new experience from the point of view of previous experience, then at the stage of abstract conceptualization he, through using logic, tries to search answers: he forms hypotheses, makes generalizations and conclusions. Usually, at this stage there are systematic planning, developments of

29 Kolb, D. A. (1984). ‘Learning styles and disciplinary differences’. in A. W. Chickering (ed.) The Modern American College, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Andragogical paradigm of organization of educational process …

theories, solving of the problem. The action phase, in the interpretation of D. Kolb, becomes the phase of active experimentation, where a person tests hypotheses, trying to get a practical, really working method. Thus, the famous learning model which is based on the experience of D. Kolb (Kolb's Experiential Learning Model) includes four stages: (1) specific experience, (2) observation and reflection, (3) the formation of abstract concepts and (4) testing in new situations.

D. Kolb and R. Fry (Kolb D., Fry R., 1975) admit that learning can begin with any of the four stages. However, the learning process most of all begins with person performing a specific action. The effect of this action is analyzed on the second stage, so its consequences can be predicted when repeated in the same circumstances.

At each stage, a general principle is formed, under which a specific action falls, which gave rise to this cycle. The formation of a general principle does not mean its expression in a symbolic form (in the form of a word, or concept), but involves only the ability to see the connections between actions and their consequences, based on understanding of the general principle (Coleman J., 1976). When the general principle is understood, the last (fourth) stage is its attachment in practical activity.

Some authors describe the stages of D. Kolb learning model as a closed cycle. In fact, learning is a continuous spiral, since a new action occurs under another circumstances and a person is now able to assume its possible consequences.

According to D. Kolb and R. Fry (Kolb D., Fry R., 1975), effective learning should lead to the development by man of all four stages of the model. Thus, based on a combination of preferred mechanisms of collecting, processing and using information, styles of human cognition can be determined.

Each type adult student corresponds to the benefits they give to separate moments in the learning process: focusing on the stage of the study cycle;

manifestations of typical peculiarities of cognitive behavior; requirements for the learning process; requirements for other participants in training; to the system of typical questions that are relevant in the learning process30.

Activists. -Focus on the stage of the study cycle: personal experience;

-manifestations of typical features of cognitive behavior: prefer to learn new in the process by means of trial and error; independent and active; immediately immerse themselves in new activities; sociable, like to solve problems in the group, they are enthusiastic, not conservative and not inclined to skepticism; get pleasure in solving tasks with maximum voltage; often lacking the patience to engage in work related to the implementation and consolidation of knowledge and skills;

- -requirements for the learning process: free choice of priorities and ideas; a wide range of tasks and opportunities; the ability to manage or organize other people's activities; absence of «boring» and many hours of lectures;

- -requirements for other participants of training: freedom of discussions; pleasant atmosphere; recognition of leadership; generation of ideas;

30 Kolb, A.Y., & Kolb, D.A. (2005). The Kolb Learning Style InventoryVersion 3.1: 2005.

Technical Specifications. Haygroup: Experience Based Learning Systems Inc.

Vira Vyhrushch, Anatoliy Vykhrushch

- -the system of typical questions that are relevant in the learning process: Will I learn something new?; Will I get new knowledge? Should I sit and listen to a teacher for a long period of time?; Will be different kinds of activities presented in the educational process?; Will it possible to keep yourself at ease, allow yourself to make mistakes and have fun?; Will be there complex tasks that require considerable efforts?; Will it be possible to chat with like-minded people?

Notionalists. -Focus on the stage of the study cycle: comprehension and reflection;

- -manifestations of typical peculiarities in cognitive behavior: initially ponder, then act; give preference to their own decisions; like to relinquish the situation, to comprehend their experience; pay much attention to the collection and analysis of information; operate in a broad context that includes the past and the present; tend to be unnoticed and create an atmosphere of tranquility and tolerance around them; main motto: «Sevenfold measure, one cut»;

- -requirements to the learning process: devoting sufficient time for reflection; the ability to work at its own pace without strict terms; complex research; collection and analysis of information; independent and long-term training;

- -requirements for other participants in the learning process: lack of pressure and haste; tolerance to different opinions and views; providing autonomy; recognition of «expert» position;

- -the system of typical questions that are relevant in the learning process: Will I get enough time to master and train?; Will be the opportunity to collect various information provided?; Is it possible to get acquainted with different thoughts and views on problems?; Will be no pressure on me? Will I be able to perform tasks carefully and in a comfortable rhythm?

Theorists. -Focusing on the stage of the learning cycle: the formulation of rules and the formation of theories;

- -manifestations of typical peculiarities of cognitive behavior: solving problems step by step; uniting separate facts in a harmonious theory; prefer to analyze;

appreciate rationality and logic; prone to system thinking; aspire to perfection;

solve problems on the basis of formal logic, gradually and systematically in the scheme «from simple to complex»; seek to combine new theories with that they already know; do not trust intuition;

- -requirements to the learning process: clarity of goals and tasks; structuring of the program; logic and consistency of material presentation; intellectual voltage;

enough time for reflection; proper instructions;

- -requirements for other participants in learning process: lack of pressure; high intellectual level; the priority of objectivity and logic;

- -system of typical questions that are relevant in the learning process: Will be given the opportunity to ask questions?; Does the training program suitable for the purpose and structure of the occupation?; What are the requirements of the program to the intellectual level of students?; Will I get knowledge about new

Andragogical paradigm of organization of educational process …

effective methods and concepts?; Will be created the conditions for my intellectual improvement?

Pragmatics. -Focus on the stage of the study cycle: practical application;

- -manifestations of typical features of cognitive behavior: seek to find practical solutions, quickly try everything and go to action; prefer to test new theories in practice; give preference to concrete steps for solving real problems; like to succeed; act quickly and confidently; constantly looking for new ideas and implementing them as quickly as possible; seek to quickly realization of their knowledge and skills; consider new problems and difficulties as a challenge; Their motto is «Well, what works»;

- -requirements for the learning process: the possibility of practical application;

practical benefit; the training program provides experiments, practical classes and consultations with qualified practitioners; clear instructions; obvious effect from learning;

- -requirements to other participants in the learning: lack of long theoretical discussions and lectures; rapid decision making; generation of ideas;

- -the system of typical questions that are relevant in the learning process: is it expected to do practice and experiments?; Do teachers have practical experience in a particular field or are they «theorists»? Will I learn about new effective methods and techniques?; Will be considered real problems?; Will I be able to use the proposed plan to solve some of my current problems? Are there meetings with experienced practitioners?


One of the essential tasks of the teaching method is the realization in practice of a well-founded thesis that the personality of the teacher and the student should be at the center of the educational process. It is no coincidence that the National Strategy for the Development of Education in Ukraine for 2012-2021 envisages reforming the education system based on the «human-centered» philosophy as a strategy for national education; modernization of the structure, content and organization of education on the basis of a competent approach, reorientation of the content of education for the purpose of sustainable development; development of scientific and innovative activity in education, improvement of education quality on an innovative basis; computerization of education; providing national monitoring of the education system; developing higher education standards oriented towards a competent approach in education.

Pedagogical science is incomplete without training and education theories developed on the basis of all these paradigms, it cannot be perceived as a science of the guided learning by an individual of the objectified experience of mankind, and in fact the guided learning is the process, which is aimed at ensuring each of the pedagogical sciences.

The theory of higher education like the rest of high school didactics should realize the andragogical paradigm of the guided learning in its optimal combination with the key ideas of the acmeological and communicative paradigms. Only then we

Vira Vyhrushch, Anatoliy Vykhrushch

will take into account the specifics of higher education and put on a scientific basis the problem solving on the definition of a set of disciplines and the synthesis of the content of higher education for specific professions, as well as the high school teachers’ acquirement of their professional management of students’ learning activity.

The andragogical paradigm of the guided learning and teaching in higher technical school will scientifically prove the requirements for modern educational process and identify the patterns in combined tasks that provide easing the students’

information overload, transfer teaching from the level of informing and technologizing to the level of real management of development, socialization and professional development of training subjects. It creates new conditions for conducting each lesson for teacher’s conscious choice of methods, forms and means of learning, that take into account the specific objectives of higher technical education. The theory of higher technical education should be developed on the basis of the combination of the acmeological and communication paradigms under the leadership of the andragogical paradigm of learning.


The category of «learning paradigm», approaches to the definition of this category, the main modern paradigms of education (pedagogical, andragogical, acmeological and communicative) are considered in the article; the andragogical paradigm of guided learning and teaching, which is an important methodological basis of a person’s higher education (including technical one) at all the stages of development; its potential is characterized compared to other learning paradigms; on the basis of a systematic approach the task, main ideas (autonomation of the institution and the student as a subject of study; the connection of the concepts

«adulthood» and «education»; together with the concept of ‘social maturity’ the concept of ‘professional socialization’ is formed; activity basis is the use of internal forces and the person’s aspirations for self-development, self-improvement;

autonomation of the student and the university in the educational process; electivity of studies; participativity of training interactions), the principles of the andragogical paradigm (the priority of self-study, a joint subjects’ of the learning process activity, using existing positive life/work experience, adjusting outdated experience and personal attitudes that prevent the acquisition of new knowledge, individual approach to learning, electivity, reflexivity, the demand for practical training results, systemacity, maintenance of learning outcomes, individual’s development), specifics of the implementation in terms of higher technical education (providing free access to information resources; providing individualized approach to learning; the change of the participants’ role in the educational process) and the teacher’s of the technical institution of higher education features (awareness of the differences of the anthropocentric orientation of the teacher from the usual technocratic orientation of the professional of technical profile, understanding the current state of science and characteristics of professional higher education, their orientation on the individual’s professional socialization). As psychodidactic approaches to the realization of the

Andragogical paradigm of organization of educational process …

andragogical paradigm are the didactics of adults D. Kolbs adults and the consideration of andragogical styles of teaching in higher education.

Key words: the paradigm of guided learning and learning, andragogika, andragogical paradigm, elective learning, autonomy, socialization, professional socialization, higher education, D. Kolb's cycle, andagogical teaching styles.


Artykuł rozpatruje i uzasadnia andragogiczny paradygmat sterowanego przyswajania wiedzy i uczenia się, który jest ważną podstawą metodologiczną systemu szkolnictwa wyższego (w tym technicznego) na wszystkich etapach jego rozwoju; charakteryzuje jego potencjał w porównaniu z innymi paradygmatami uczenia się. W oparciu o podejście systemowe przeprowadzono analizę zadań, głównych idei, zasad paradygmatu andragogicznego, specyfiki wdrażania w szkolnictwie wyższym oraz specyfiki działalności nauczyciela akademickiego. Jako psychodydaktyczne podejście do realizacji paradygmatu andragogicznego wykorzystana została dydaktyka dorosłych D. Kolba oraz uwzględnionie andragogiczne style nauczania w szkolnictwie wyższym.

Słowa kluczowe: paradygmat sterowanego przyswajania wiedzy i uczenia się, andragogika, paradygmat andragogiczny, elektywność nauczania, autonomizacja, socjalizacja, socjalizacja zawodowa, szkolnictwo wyższe, cykl D. Kolba, andagogiczne style nauczania.


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