Andragogy: What it Means and Why All Sales Teams Need an Online Learning Management System Because of It

Andragogy is a certifiably boring word with a fascinating backstory. It means adult learning—and it all started in the early 1800s with a German gym teacher named Alex Kapp. He had a passion for teaching both kids and adults. After years of observation he discovered this: when kids learn, they act like sponges. They soak up the information in the world around them.

But adults learn best from the inside out. Adults learn when they have an internal drive for curiosity and excellent all-around morals. (Alex Kapp was super into character building, kindness, and philosophy. From what I’ve read, it sounds like he liked Plato more than Plato’s mom liked Plato.)


Seventy years later, Boston University professor Malcolm Knowle, dedicated his life’s work to andragogy and making sure adults learn well. Here are the four main things he discovered about adult learning:

Adults learn best when they…

  1. know why they’re learning what’s being taught.
  2. experience learning auditorily, visually, or kinesthetically.
  3. receive some sort of instant pay-off for what they’re learning.
  4. learn through problem solving and seeing what works.

So now we know what andragogy means and how adults learn best. Why do we care so much? Because sales teams are made up of adults, not kids. Teaching and training reps in ways they love to learn is essential for continuing team success. When we teach adults how they learn best, they do better work. Understanding, retention, and sales do better, too. 

Whether your team has 10 or 10,000 people, your sales team needs scalable, adult-centric training. The solution is an online learning management system. Here are two ways Lessonly’s learning management system (LMS software)  was purpose-built for adults and sales teams:

Creators blend visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning into one lesson.

Lessonly is an open-source LMS made by adults, for adults. Creators are people who use Lessonly to build lessons for their team. A great Creator caters to how their team learns and retains information best. For example, if you’re a manager and you want to update the way prospects are nurtured in the sales cycle, you can build a lesson and assign it to your team. Elements like text, flipcards, images, videos, links, documents, quizzes, feedback areas, and more help sales teams strategically craft lessons based on how their agents learn best. We especially love the Practice feature because teams can test new sales tactics in a stress-free environment before ever using them with customers. The gray dropdown menu in the photo below gives you a glimpse of these options.



All of these elements fall into the visual, auditory, or kinesthetic buckets. Together, these elements equip managers to build interactive and trackable action plans and training guides customized to their teams’ learning styles. 

Instant and long-term pay-off become a reality with an LMS website.

Last week, I talked with Max, our CEO, about long-term and short-term fun. There are things in adult life that are instantly gratifying and 100% fun in the moment. Going out for ice cream. Hugging your best friend. Falling asleep knowing there’s no alarm set for the next morning.  

And then there are other parts of work and life that just aren’t great when you’re doing them, but they’re still worth doing. Meal prepping for the week. Driving eight hours to go to a family reunion. Mowing the lawn. Renewing your license at the BMV. These very normal tasks aren’t all that fun, but they result in good food all week, spending time with people you love, a lawn you can play in, and the ability to legally drive—all good things.

When sales teams use an online learning management system, instant pay-off and long term pay-off work in tandem. There’s a balance. Lessonly enables salespeople to win in the short run, and pay it forward to help others win in the long run. Teams identify what tactics are closing deals right now so they can practice them in the online LMS and sustain sales in the long run. Our customers use our LMS like their own company Google; Classroom learning is for kids, and practicing in a customizable LMS is for adults. With online learning management systems, andragogy works and adults learn better. Alex Kapp would be so proud. 

Want your sales team to work smarter?

Lessonly’s mission is to help people do better work so they can live better lives. Sales teams consist of adults, so we built our online learning management system with andragogy top of mind. Lessonly helps hundreds of sales teams do just that. With faster onboarding, better training, and greater sales enablement, deals can’t help but close. Lessonly could be your sales team’s secret weapon. Take a tour today.

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