Date of Conferral







Kimberly Rynearson


According to Knowles's theory of andragogy, the principles of adult learning are the need to know, self-directedness, the role of experience, intrinsic motivation, and readiness to learn. Whereas references in the andragogical literature have assumed that the principles uniformly apply to adults of all ages, differences between adult age groups may influence the effectiveness of the principles on adult learning. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate which adult age group was most accepting of the principles so that more effective teaching may occur. Three adult age groups, emerging adults (18-25), young adults (26-39), and mature adults (40-59) were studied, guided by three research questions. The first two questions addressed the degree of acceptance of andragogical principles and student satisfaction by the three age groups, and the third addressed the degree to which age and acceptance of andragogical principles predicted student course satisfaction. Using a cross-sectional, quantitative design, a convenience sample of 59 college students completed an electronic, web-based, Likert-scale survey. Multivariate analysis of variance, analysis of variance, and multiple regression analyses examined the relationships between the three age groups, andragogical principles, and student course satisfaction. Although there was no difference between the age groups and the acceptance of the andragogical principles or student course satisfaction, age combined with acceptance of andragogical principles was predictive of student course satisfaction. The social change implications are that educators should continue to implement the current principles across all adult age groups when designing learning environments and opportunities to improve the quality of educational instruction for one of the fastest growing student populations, the adult learner.