Hase & Kenyon 2000
Whilst of interest to me as a learning facilitator for adults, it has struck me as being most useful in helping to comprehend the type of learning which is required for a MOOC #change11.
The term needs to be understood in relation to pedagogy which is the art of educating/leading children; and andragogy, the term defined by Malcolm Knowles to signify how adults learn differently to children. Whilst I have found the term andragogy useful for perceiving adult learners as self directed, the term heutagogy, which harnesses the implications of complexity theory to learning, has helped me to consider how learning might occur when the teacher or educator simply provides the resources and the learner negotiates their own learning journey. Most learning environments now require the skills to navigate a way through the information explosion that is defining the 21st century and a Massive Online Open Course is a perfect example.
When I consider my experience to date on this MOOC I would argue that the most challenging aspect is the need to develop the learning skills required when responding to a complex learning environment or system. However, I am not sure what those skills are yet. I thought initially that it was the technology that I needed to get to grips with but I think it's deeper than this. It's at the meta-cognition level. Perhaps the fee paying students have a supportive and structured relationship with the tutors/facilitators which guides and scaffolds their experience? That would make sense and clearly identify the potentially zero value of content against the high value of guided interaction as we move towards different models of higher education. However, it also causes me to reflect upon what it was I set out to learn from the MOOC in the first place. I now realise why the first week of orientation encouraged all participants to set learning goals. I wanted to experience a MOOC (I'm doing this) but what exactly did I want to learn? I fear that, in reflection, I have little idea! Perhaps, retrospectively, I might learn what skills are required for heutagogy to occur. However, is it possible for me to do this on my own?
Interestingly, Natalie Canning of the Open University suggests that to develop heutagogy, a self directed learning environment needs to be created before a student can discover their own strategies for learning. A tutor needs to recognise their role in moving the learners from engaging with pedagogy by building confidence; to cultivating andragogy by supporting shared meaning and understanding; and realising heutagogy by facilitating a desire to investigate their own learning (Canning, 2010). This understanding resonates with my experience of teaching. Unfortunately, the pedagogic default perception of most students is at odds with andragogy and possibly doubly so with heutagogy. So what might a self directed learning environment look like, and is a MOOC an example of one?
The MOOC certainly provides the learner with the opportunity to determine what and how learning should take place, however, with the removal of the educator and the ever expanding learning environments that we are faced with, is it possible that much learning opportunity is lost? Equally, what do I expect or want for free? There seems to be a space between open content and optimal learning and maybe the art of heutagogy, more explicitly defined may provide a metaphorical tool kit for bridging that gap.
Canning, N. (2010) "Playing with heutagogy:exploring strategies to empower mature learners in higher education" Journal of Further & Higher Education Vol 34, No.1, February, pp 59-71
Hello and Welcome
We find ourselves living and working in a world which is constantly changing. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming but I think that the way to respond positively to changes in our lives is through developing our ability to learn in ways that combine the personal with the professional. If I change; everything changes! Identifying and making use of all the resources that are available to us and recognising our learning in different contexts can build the skills, qualities, experience and qualifications required to transform both our personal and professional lives..