By Sunil Dahiya
Today’s education system has an enviable task to develop an army of lifelong learners who are primed to thrive in a globally empowered new-age knowledge economy. This is where Heutagogy comes into play as a paradigm shift from the earlier pedagogical and andragogical learning processes that are no longer sufficient to enable learners to self-develop capabilities, skills and competencies for the ever-evolving, ever-changing and increasingly complex demands of the new-age workplace.
What is Heutagogy
Heutagogy, otherwise known as self-determined learning, is a student-centred instructional strategy that emphasizes the development of autonomy, capacity, and capability.
Therefore, the self-directed and self-determined approach of Heutagogy has an unwavering focus on what the learner wants to learn and how he will do it? Heutagogy is comprised of seven fundamentals, ie, approval, facilitation, choice, agreement, review, assessment and feedback. This process seeks to benefit the learner through (a) empowerment, (b) capability enhancement, and (c) an open-minded discovery process.
However, implementation of the heutagogical methodology is easier said than done and the challenges of facilitation, time, culture and assessment need to address to make it successful. Technology can be a game-changer here.
Shared contents and practices
A marriage of Heutagogy and technology can have far-reaching implications for the learner, the trainer, and the entire ecosystem built around Heutagogy. Interest in Heutagogy has surged in recent times due to the rapid developments in new teaching methods, learning resources, and digital/social media space. The emergence of web-based technologies that support and facilitate self-directed learning will play a crucial role in harnessing need-based knowledge and information, triggering the need for exploration and experimentation of open learning environments.
Crowd-sourcing new insights
The Heutagogy methodology expects a learner to look for solutions to his queries with the help of available tools and resources. Social media platforms are the most important frameworks that support heutagogical learning by providing learners with the social capital to crowdsource new insights, collaborate on learning projects and co-create communities. These platforms can offer good insights to available sources of information.
Also, learners can use bookmarking tools to gain knowledge. Heutagogy can leverage the strengths of the social bookmarking tools that have inherent advantages over and above the mechanical bookmarking of online content to allow users to capitalise on the ‘power of the mob’. Users can collaborate and create communities around shared content and practices. There are several bookmarking tools now available for the same.
Similarly, heutagogical learners are now empowered with an arsenal of websites that enable them to learn anything they want, from cooking to coding. There are several well-known universities that provide free courses and MOOCs to learners from all around the world. To top it all, a number of aggregator tools and apps for these courses allow you to access them from a single place.
First point of contact
Trainers require access to various available tools and websites. The teacher will continue to play an important role as a guide and mentor to the student. In other words, the teacher remains the first point of contact of the student for guidance. Therefore, a trainer needs to have access and knowledge to provide directions to the learners in harnessing their understanding.
Technology is a great enabler and ensures the availability of various knowledge resources to the learner and providing solutions to trainers for understanding the learner’s new learning patterns and behaviour.
Content-specific learning objectives
For the Heutagogy methodology to run successfully, it is essential to make available resources for the learner to harness as much information and knowledge as possible. The resources can be books, magazines, social media tools, important websites, graphic libraries, links to application areas etc. Both trainer and learner need to have an excellent internet access and bandwidth to use modern tools and gadgets. Hence, the policymakers must build the ecosystem and ensure that the minimum infrastructure is available to the stakeholders. This tech orientation will enable students to set a bar on their content-specific learning objectives. This is the core of a heutagogical design. Technology will become the backbone for the methodology.
Source: Education Times