Published on

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide


  1. 1. Heutagogy: 21st Century Academics EDU501, Basic Principles of Online Teaching Melody Allen Megan Brooks Meg Hunter John M. Muehl Rena Palloff Keith Pratt Course Instructors A course paper presented to the Teaching in the Virtual Classroom Program in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the certificate program. Fielding Graduate University June 2009
  2. 2. The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet. William Gibson (1948 - ) The world is changing. The advent of the Information Communication Technologies (ICT’s) and the World Wide Web has changed the way that humans communicate, govern, barter, work, and socialize. This phenomenon has propelled the Education community to seek new methods of teaching and learning in order to prepare students for this new world order. Research into teaching and learning suggests that the tried and true methods of the past may not be appropriate for the globalized world. The tried and true method of the teacher led classroom is not efficient in the current technological climate. Hase and Kenyon (2000) state “the rapid rate of change in society, and the so- called information explosion, suggest that we should now be looking at an educational approach where it is the learner himself who determines what and how learning should take place” (p. 1). Heutagogy is defined as self-directed or self- determined learning. Heutagogy begins with students taking responsibility for their own learning from reading to researching, reporting, reflecting on, and assessing their own work. The expected result of heutagogy is for the student to learn the material related to the course and to build life skills encompassing a whole of learning philosophy towards people, workplaces and communities in order to succeed in life. (Ashton and Newman, 2006). Online learning is a booming business. Students are looking for new ways to fit their college education into the busy lifestyles that they lead. Heutagogy places the power in the hands of the learner and looks to a future where knowing how to 

  3. 3. learn will be a fundamental educational skill (Ashton & Newman, 2006).” Self- determined learning empowers the individual to think independently and critically. It enables students to share power in a collaborative environment provoking an atmosphere of critical thinking and effective communication. Students bring their own life, educational, social and cultural experience to classroom. Working together, “knowledge is produced and flows through diffuse and distributed networks collaboratively with the knowledge broker encouraging a sharing of expertise and a testing of the validity of previously uncontested knowledge claims” (Contractor & Monge, 2002). The role of the teacher has become guidance of the formation of ideas, not the force-feeding of ideas to students. The teacher now must accept the role of a learning facilitator. This is the overarching characteristic of Heutagogy. The facilitator’s job is to nurture student involvement and initiative, encourage self-management, and help students attain a high degree of self-efficacy. Ashton and Elliot (2007) believe that heutagogy leads to higher commitment, critical thinking and idea generation among the students involved. While the facilitator provides some information to the learning environment, she will also encourage students to add to the resources and collections. The bulk of the learning is accomplished through the individual synthesis of student feedback. The facilitator becomes a co-learner sharing power with the students: reading, writing, thinking, reflecting, assessing, and editing each other’s contributions to the class. This double loop learning process characterizes the heutagogical approach to learning. 

  4. 4. The typical use of (ICT’s) makes Heutagogy the ideal approach for blended or online teaching and learning. These non-traditional classroom settings acknowledge a learner’s complex student, work, and family responsibilities. Lifelong learners in our current knowledge- based economy need to develop ideas rather than physical abilities and develop skills in the application of technology rather than the transformation of raw materials (Ashton and Newman, 2006). The online classroom “is a collaborative medium, a place where we could all meet and read and write" (Carvin, 2005, ¶ 3) making it a perfect medium for heutagogy. The most significant strength of the heutagogical teaching and learning approach is flexibility. Many students work long hours, are responsible for parents, children, siblings and other family members, travel long distances to the university and are anxious about their studies because of their weak academic skills (Ashton & Elliot, 2007). The online classroom allows for rapid 24/7 access to course and materials, self-paced learning, less of a distinction between teacher and learner, and a collaboration with peer group that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. These strengths are often linked to student retention in the online environment: • Development of lifelong learning skills • Learner or self-directed • Encouragement for student to take responsibility for learning • Development of independent critical thinking skills • Flexibility 

  5. 5. • Emphasizes holistic development • Facilitated Learning • Double looped learning – non linear • Valued interaction among peers • Builds good communication skills • Builds learner confidence • Empowerment of the learner • Development of creativity • Encouragement for reflective process • Preparation of student for the 21st century working world Heutagogy is not for the feint of heart or lazy of mind. Everyone is not necessarily prepared or educationally skilled enough to learn on his or her own. While students have the freedom to attend class at their leisure, flexibility carries with it increased responsibility and the need for independence. Unprepared students may confuse self-directed learning with self-paced learning. The online classroom has deadlines for turning in assignments and accomplishing tasks. Students quickly get left behind when deadlines are not met. Students who demand a face-to-face connection with teachers and fellow learners may find themselves feeling disconnected and isolated. Also, students who struggle with technology may find themselves overwhelmed navigating the online environment and mastering the tools needed to complete assignments. While student dropout in the online 

  6. 6. environment is most often linked to more personal issues, the heutagogical approach does have limitations that contribute to student dissatisfaction. They are: • Requirement of excellent time management skills • Less structure than traditional classroom • Time consuming process • Facilitators’ refusal to be flexible • Facilitators’ reluctance to empower learners with course direction • Assumption that learners know "how to learn" • Assumption that students can self regulate • Students’ reluctance to share range of experiences • Student’s reluctance to self assess While Heutagogy may not be the best teaching and learning approach for every one, it is rapidly becoming the preferred learning approach for adult learners, especially in non-traditional classroom settings. The study of heutagogy is a recent practice and the literature on the subject is spartan. However, the increased awareness of differences among learners suggests that the possibility to personalize the learning process, at least to some extent, will give every learner the chance to achieve their full potential and therefore lead to better learning outcomes (Delfino et al, 2008). The future is upon us. 

  7. 7. Resources Ashton, J., & Elliott, R., (2007) Juggling the balls—study, work, family and play: student perspectives on flexible and blended heutagogy. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 15(2), 167-181. Ashton, J., & Newman, L., (2006) An unfinished symphony: 21st century teacher education using knowledge creating heutagogies. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(6), 825-840. Carvin, A. (2005, February 1). Tim Berners-Lee: Weaving a semantic web. Toronto, Ontario, Divide Network: http://www.digitaldivide.net/articles/ view.php?ArticleID=20 Contractor, N.S., & Monge, P.R., (2002) Managing knowledge networks. Management Communication Quarterly, 16 (2), 249-258. Delfino, M., Dettori, G., & Persico, D. (2008, October). Self-regulated learning in virtual communities. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 17(3), 195-205. Hase, S. & Kenyon, C. (2000). From andragogy to heutagogy. ultiBASE publication. Retrieved May 28, 2009, from http://www.ultibase.rmit.edu.au/ Articles/dec00/hase2.htm.