University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository




Mark Archambault



Objective: The purpose of this current perspectives review article is to demonstrate how the process of patient education may be improved through the application of adult learning theories, specifically andragogy and cognitive theory.

Method: PubMed and OneSearch literature database searches were conducted with the search terms patient education, adult learning theory, andragogy, and cognitive learning theory.

Results: The initial searches produced 944 articles. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, full text, and full article review, 18 items were chosen for review. There is little direct research in the application of adult learning theory in the process of patient education.

Conclusion: Patient education is seldom developed through the application of accepted learning theories. Improving how information is conveyed to adult patients by recognizing their learning needs will contribute to better outcomes. Further research comparing patient educational opportunities developed with adult learning theory principles to patient teaching done without is indicated.

Practical value: This review supports the use of learning theory in the development of patient education materials.

Keywords: Learning theory, andragogy, patient education, cognitive theory


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