Using Andragogy for Trauma-Informed Practice in Online Environments
Keywords:andragogy, trauma-informed approach, online teaching, adult learners, postsecondary education
A trauma-informed educational approach recognizes the impact of trauma on learning and responds with educational practices that reduce the risk of retraumatization while promoting resiliency and growth. Many postsecondary educators have advocated for such an approach following the COVID-19 pandemic which increased exposure to trauma, inequitably impacting racial and ethnic minority groups. While best practices have been shared by educators, they frequently do not include a theory of learning that guides this educational approach. Herein I analyze the basic assumptions of andragogy and the trauma-informed approach, draw connections between their mutual focus on developing collaborative learning environments, and propose that the andragogical process may serve as a framework for applying trauma-informed online teaching practices. Finally, I provide practical examples of applying such teaching practices in the online environment to support trauma-affected marginalized populations.