Heutagogy Explained for Teachers (and Tools That Support It)

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October 20, 2015
Heutagogy is a learning and teaching  approach that is primarily self-directed or self-determined. Unlike the traditional pedagogic paradigm where learning is administered in a controlled environment under the auspices of a ‘knowledge expert’ (teacher) and where learners agency is defined in the logic of conformity and passive adhesiveness to pre-defined instructional guidelines, a heutagogic pedagogy is more learner entered. It is bent on developing learners autonomy and enabling them to take control of their own learning. At its core is the individual empowerment through equipping learners with a variety of skills and competencies to help them with their self-formation.
Source: Joannamkay

Heutagogic learners are highly reflective subjects. They are constantly engaged in a process of self-reflection and assessment to improve their learning. Arguers & Schon, 1996, (cited in Blaschke, 2012) refer to this process as ‘double-loop learning’. ‘In double-loop learning, learners consider the problem and the resulting action and outcomes, in addition to reflecting upon the problem-solving process and how it influences the learner’s own beliefs and actions’( Blaschke, 2012, p. 59).

Interest in heutagogy has recently been resurged due mainly to the emergence of a plethora of web 2.0 technologies that support and facilitate self-directed learning. The purpose of today’s post is to share with you examples of some very good web tools that support heutagogic learning. For those of you interested in learning more about Heutagogy, check out the list of references at the end of this post.

1- Social Media Websites

Source: Paul Inkles
Social media sites come at the top of the list of the platforms that support heutagogic learning. From Twitter to Facebook, social media provides learners with the social capital to drawn on to crowdsource new insights, collaborate on learning projects, and create dedicated PLNs to help with one's professional growth.

2- Social Bookmarking Tools
The heutagogic strength of social bookmarking tools is that they go beyond the mechanic bookmarking of online content to allow users to  capitalize on the 'power of the mob'. Users can collaborate with each other and  create communities around shared content and practices. Sites such as Diigo and Delicious, two popular examples in this regard,   provide users with 'a ground-breaking collaborative research and learning tool that allows any group of people to pool their findings through group bookmarks, highlights, sticky notes, and forum.'

3- Sites for self-education

Heutagogic learners are now empowered with an arsenal of websites that enable them to learn anything they want from cooking to coding. Several well-known universities provide free courses and MOOCs to learners from all around the world. Best of all, there are a number of tools and apps that aggregate all of these courses and allow you to access them from a single place. Some of these sites include:

1- Blaschke, M. (2012). Heutagogy and lifelong learning: A Review of heutagogical practice and self-determined learning.The International Review of Research in Open and distance Learning, 13(1), pp:56-71.

2- Natalie Canning (2010) Playing with heutagogy: exploring strategies to
empower mature learners in higher education, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 34:1,59-71, DOI: 10.1080/03098770903477102

3- Argyris, C and Schon, D. (1996) Organisational Learning II, Addison-Wesley, Reading.