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A Focus on Relevance: Applying Andragogy to Volunteer Recruitment

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How do adults learn? There are six principles behind the answer to that question, and e-Volunteerism feature writers and educators Erica Letourneau and Barbara Lombardi explain each one in their story, “A Focus on Relevance: Applying Andragogy to Volunteer Recruitment.”

As educators, both have long promoted volunteerism in the classrooms as a way for college students to make a difference in their communities while developing workplace skills and gaining career-relevant experience. Because andragogy (also known as “adult learning”) postulates that adults learn best when they find concepts relevant, Letourneau and Lombardi note that their instruction goes beyond the subject at hand to address how the material will benefit students in their professional and personal lives. The principles of andragogy, they explain, can be used to connect with prospective volunteers. “While our experience with andragogy relates primarily to college students, these principles may also apply in a wider context, for example, in the recruitment of senior volunteers,” they write. “Volunteer managers can recruit more volunteers by applying andragogy principles, such as prior experience and relevance, when discussing volunteer opportunities or developing volunteer position descriptions.”