Vince Cyboran, Ed.D., Chair, Graduate Program in Training and Development
Most ads for Training and Development jobs include at least a token mention of learning theory, particularly as it relates to adults. To anyone with more than a passing familiarity with learning theory—particularly as it relates to adults—the wording of these ads is troublesome. Let’s examine two recently posted ads to determine exactly what they are looking for.
This first ad explicitly mentions ‘Adult Learning Theory.’
My guess is that they are referring to Andragogy and its principles. They are not referring to Behaviorism/Radical Behaviorism, Cognitivism, or Constructivism or any other theories focusing on how humans learn. While the underlying philosophy of Andragogy appears to be something upon which most T&D professionals can agree (Forrest & Peterson, 2006), the underlying science of Andragogy is problematic (Rachall, 2002).
In this second ad, ‘adult learning theory’ is not capitalized. Further, we see that this employer has lumped ‘the ADDIE model’ with ‘adult learning theory.’
How does the wording about ‘learning theory’ in an ad affect your preparation for a job interview? Should you mention ‘andragogy’ during an interview?
Forrest, J. P., & Peterson, T. O. (2002, May). It’s Called Andragogy. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 5(1), 113-122.
Rachall, J. Andragogy’s Detectives: A Critique of the Present and a Proposal for the Future. Adult Education Quarterly, 52(3), 210-217.