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Journal of STEM Teacher Education

Abstract

Synergistic Andragogy (SA) is related to the concept of Synergogy as presented by Mouton and Blake (1984). Synergogy, much like SA, is an alternative mode of education. Mouton and Blake define synergogy as a “systematic approach to learning in which the members of small teams learn from one another through structured interactions” (Mouton 1984, p. xii). Synergogy focuses on learner motivation and involvement, whereas Synergistic Andragogy (SA) focuses on the learning experience and its potentially powerful outcomes. SA is a type of learning which occurs through the interaction of two or more groups of adult learners such that the combined effect is greater than the sum of individual group learning. SA combines two concepts, synergy and andragogy, to create a process that adult educators can use in a variety of environments to create a powerful learning process. Synergism brings two or more forces together based on the belief that joint efforts and combined energies are greater than individual efforts. Research suggests that the value, performance, and power of teams, groups, and collectives are often stronger than individuals acting alone (Katzenbach & Smith, 2003). Andragogy was popularized by Malcolm Knowles, who argued that the adult learning process is significantly different than a child’s learning process (Knowles, 1984). Knowles eventually summarized six key assumptions about adult learners, which he said are the foundation of adult learning. The purpose of this article is to describe an exercise in how SA was executed over one semester through a six step model. The foundations of SA and how we integrated organizational sustainability as the theme is discussed in more detail elsewhere (Kroth, Taylor, & Lindner, in press).

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