Learning & Theoretical Frameworks Adult, Mobile, Self-efficacy, and Transformative Learning

Team 4: Dino Hatzigeorgiou, Jessica Brown, Rachelle Williams, and Theresa McLeod-Treadwell


The following presentation is an exploration of four theories that are prominent in education: andragogy theory, mobile learning theory, self-efficacy learning theory and transformative learning theory. Although each of these theories present different ways to approach learning, they are all valuable for educators designing and delivering learning experiences for modern-day learners.

Andragogy: helping adults learn

1. Andragogy Theory

The term Andragogy is a term made popular by Knowles in 1968. He defined Andragogy as “the art and science of helping adults learn” (Knowles, 1980, p. 43). This was developed in contrast to pedagogy which he suggested was related to learning in children. Ultimately, Knowles’ theory is based on the belief that adults learn differently then children and thus adults should be taught differently than children.

The Andragogy framework is based on a set of five assumptions. The adult learner:

“(1) has an independent self-concept and who can direct his or her own learning,

(2) has accumulated a reservoir of life experiences that is a rich resource for learning,

(3) has learning needs closely related to changing social roles,

(4) is problem-centered and interested in immediate application of knowledge, and

(5) is motivated to learn by internal rather than external factors.” (Merriam, 2017, p. 5)

Initial Criticisms

  • Is andragogy a theory at all? Would it be better described as a set of best practices?
  • Assumptions are not necessarily specific to adults, some children learn similarly, and some adults prefer a more classical approach to learning (Merriam, 2017).

Knowles’ later revised his theory and as opposed to looking at andragogy v. pedagogy, he started to look at them along a spectrum with student-centered learning on one side and teacher-centered learning on the other (Merriam, 2017).

Andragogy in Modern Day

Despite the fact that Knowles began writing about andragogy in the 1960s, it remains relevant and prominent and has been applied to modern forms of learning like online and distance education (Darden, 2014).

Mobile Learning: learning anytime, anywhere

2. Mobile Learning Framework

Koole’s (2011) Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) is a combination of a theoretical and practical framework for mobile learning and education that can be used to guide the:

  • Development of future mobile devices
  • Development of learning materials
  • Design of teaching, learning and implementation strategies

According to the FRAME model, Koole (2011) argues that Mobile Learning results from the convergence of three components:

  • Mobile technology
  • Human learning capacity
  • Social interaction

In this model, the author states that mobile learning is seen as “information” (p. 26) that learners exchange and consume individually or collectively.

To support her theory, Koole (2011) presents the Venn diagram (p. 27) shown in Figure 1 below and explains that mobile learning takes place through the convergence of three aspects: Device (D), Social (S), and Learner (L). In her analysis, the author states that "a learner uses a mobile device (DL) that operates social technology (DS), interacts with the information, and consumes that information (LS) within a social network of devices, peers or experts" (p. 27). Mobile Learning (DLS) is an outcome of the learner-social interaction that contains instructional and learning theories with an emphasis on social constructivism (Koole, 2011, p. 27).

Figure 1. The FRAME Model (Koole, 2011, p. 27)
Transformative Theory: developping autonomous thinking

3. Transformative Learning Theory

Transformational Learning is the process of creating and adopting new or revised assumptions or frame of reference that is more inclusive and self-reflective. Mezirow (1997) states that an individual becomes a more autonomous thinker when they:

Figure 1. Transformative Learning Framework

Mezirov (1997) developed the Transformative Learning Theory which is a theoretical framework for adult education. The author claims to be the essence of adult education (1997, p. 11). Mezirow (1997) asserts that acquiring knowledge or new skills is not enough to become an autonomous thinker, which is the ultimate goal of adult education. The author posits that transformative learning develops autonomous thinking (1997, p. 11).

There are four distinct phases that are required for transformative learning to take place:

  1. The first phase is a Disorienting Dilemma that presents as a situation that is uncomfortable and challenges the learners’ assumptions or the assumptions of others (Franz, 2005).
  2. At this point, in the second phase, the learner will engage in Critical Reflection about these assumptions either through problem solving or self-reflection. It is noted by Mezirow that self-reflection can bring about substantial personal transformation (Mezirov, 1997).
  3. In the third phase of transformative learning, the learner participates in Dialogue and Discourse with other learners, discussing their experiences and forming new assumptions (Mezirov, 1997).
  4. The fourth phase of the transformative learning process is Action Taking in light of new learning and new assumptions. In the absence of action taken, a reliable example of this phase is intent to act in a new way (Mezirov, 1997).

As Mezirow (1997) explains, learners do not transform their way of thinking when the information presented fits nicely in their established assumptions. Through these phases of transformative learning, the learner challenges previous assumptions consequently developing autonomous thinking, which is the goal of adult learning (Mezirov, 1997).

Self-Efficacy: fostering confidence

4. Self-Efficacy Theory

Self-Efficacy embodies an individual’s internal beliefs in their competence to obtain goals. The theory that puts weight on the concept of self-efficacy is the social cognitive theory. Positioning the spotlight on the role of observation learning, individual social experiences and reciprocal determinism are all factored in developing one’s personality. The concept of self-efficacy can be seen as; a persons own ability to believe in themselves to success in particular situations or completing target objectives. Well-known Albert Bandura, a psychologist who grew up in Alberta Canada developed four self-efficacy judgments in 1977, performance outcome and mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological feedback. These four judgements are well known today and considered in modern day teaching practices and learning observations by reflective teachers and students.

Sources of Self-Efficacy Judgements and Beliefs

Performance Outcome and Mastery Experiences

“Positive and negative experiences can influence the ability of an individual to perform a given task. If one has performed well at a task previously, he or she is more likely to feel competent and perform well at a similarly associated task” (Bandura, 1977). For example, an individual has been taught and modeled by an individual who has mastered a task, they have the ability to control the environment around them, while obtaining the objective and now has the abilities to teach it back. This takes a great deal of dedication and persistence to obtain a mastery level.

Vicarious Experiences

“People can develop high or low self-efficacy vicariously through other people’s performances. A person can watch another perform and then compare their own competence with the other individual’s competence” (Bandura, 1997). For example, if a student witnesses their friend and classmate succeed with great effort in understanding algebra at a mastery level, they to believe they can persist with great effort to succeed in algebra at a master level as well and accomplish the same goal.

Verbal Persuasion

“Self-efficacy is influenced by encouragement and discouragement pertaining to an individual’s performance or ability to perform” (Redmond, 2010). For example, if an individual is supported and told, “you can do it”, the greater odds are, the individual will more than likely succeed at a task, no matter how difficult it became.

Physiological and Emotional Feedback

“People experience sensations from their body and how they perceive this emotional arousal influences their beliefs of efficacy” (Bandura, 1977). For example, the emotional and stressful states an individual is in, these physiological and emotions will have more than likely a negative impact on a person’s confidence and beliefs in their capabilities to performing or obtaining a goal. On the other hand, positive influences will more than likely assist in individuals physiological and emotions to obtain the task at hand with greater confidence.

Figure 1. Determining Efficacy Judgments (Bandura, 1997)


Agustiani, H., Cahyad, S., & Musa, M. (2016). Self-efficacy and self-regulated learning as predictors of students academic performance. The Open Psychology Journal, 9(1), 1-6. Retrieved from DOI: 10.2174/1874350101609010001

Boyer, N. R., Maher, P. A., & Kirkman, S. (2006). Transformative learning in online settings. Journal of Transformative Education, 4(4), 335-361. doi:10.1177/1541344606295318

Darden, D. C. (2014). Relevance of the Knowles theory in distance education. Creative Education, 05(10), 809-812. doi:10.4236/ce.2014.510094

Franz, N. K. (2005). Transformative learning in intraorganization partnerships: facilitating personal, joint, and organizational change. Journal of Transformative Education, 3(3), 254–270.

Hineman, J. M., Boury, T. T., & Semich, G. W. (2015). Technology-literate school leaders in a 1:1 ipad program and teachers' technology self-efficacy. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education, 11(2), 68-79. doi:10.4018/ijicte.2015040106

Knowles, M. S. The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Androgogy. (2nd ed.) New York: Cambridge Books, 1980.

Koole, M. L. (2009). A model for framing mobile learning. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile learning: Transforming the delivery of education and training, (pp. 25–47). Edmonton, AB: AU Press.

Merriam, S. B. (2001). Andragogy and self-directed learning: pillars of adult learning theory. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2001(89), 3. https://doi.org/10.1002/ace.3

Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative learning: Theory to practice. New directions for adult and continuing education, 1997(74), 5-12.

Petty, G. C., & Carter, C. A. (2011). Self-efficacy beliefs of adult learners utilizing information communication technologies. IGI Global, 753-767. Retrieved from DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-906-0.ch045

Sharples, M., Taylor, J., & Vavoula, G. (2005). Towards a theory of mobile learning. Proceedings of mLearn, 1.1, 1-9.

Tinsley, A. L. (2016, December 14). Spring 2016-self-efficacy and social cognitive theories. Retrieved July 23, 2018, from https://wikispaces.psu.edu/display/PSYCH484001SP17/Spring+2016+~+Self-Efficacy+and+Social+Cognitive+Theories


Created with images by TeroVesalainen - "thought idea innovation" • Štefan Štefančík - "Teamwork in the workplace" • rawpixel - "untitled image" • geralt - "woman face connection" • rawpixel - "achievement agreement business" • ElasticComputeFarm - "library books knowledge"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.