Heutagogy and the Role of the Instructor

As the first week of 3250 Instructional Strategies draws to a close, I reflect upon the past week and the things I’ve learned. I learned that heutagogy, the study of self-determined learning is an extension of andragogy. Ashton and Newman (2006) said that a heutagogical learning environment facilitates development of capable learners and emphasizes both the development of learner competencies as well as development of the learner’s capability and capacity to learn.

The role of the instructor in heutagogy is to facilitate learning by providing guidance and resources, fully relinquishing ownership of the learning path and process to the learner, who negotiates learning and determines what will be learned and how it will be learned.

Initially, I thought that since ownership of learning and the learning process is relinquished, that there wasn’t much of a role for the instructor in a heutagogical approach, but that really isn’t true. Instructors need to develop their skill set so that they are capable of responding to any new technological tools that might enable learning, in a fresh, appropriate and relevant manner. Instructors also need to understand the elements of this approach, how best to build learning relationships, enable the co-creation of learning, motivate learners with a conversational, participatory approach, and to act as a broker between the institutional requirements of education and the needs of the learner in our modern, evolving globalised world. In fact, it is a  lot to wrap one’s mind around.

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