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Heutagogy: The new way for learning and how it can help you

The key tenet of heutagogy is an unfettered focus on student-centric instructional strategy and lifelong learning so that the students are well-prepared for the new-age demands of the new-age workplace.

By Sunil Dahiya

Heutagogy is a new-age method of teaching is transformational and game-changing, as it takes the students on an intense journey of self-discovery. The concept fosters self-learning, which is independent of formal teaching. The key tenet of heutagogy is an unfettered focus on student-centric instructional strategy and lifelong learning so that the students are well-prepared for the new-age demands of the new-age workplace.

While pedagogy is teacher-led learning and andragogy is self-directed learning, heutagogy has a different approach. In standard pedagogy, teachers determine what students will learn and how they will learn. Student reliance on the teacher is high, and they learn topics in the order in which they are taught.

In Andragogy methodology, it uses the teacher as a mentor or guide but encourages students to find their solutions to the tasks the teacher sets. Whereas in the heutagogical approach, the students identify the problems and self-discover the solutions. Instead of focusing on the teacher-assigned tasks, students prioritize topics characterised by uncertainty and complexity. The teacher’s role is just to provide a context to enhance and enable the learning process.

How does it work?

In heutagogy, the purpose is to establish an environment where learners can determine their own goals, learning paths, processes, and products. The learner is strategically positioned at the center of the learning process rather than the teacher or the curriculum.

There are no impediments to knowledge in the current system of education, and the desired skills for effective learning have changed dramatically, so with the heutagogical approach, the learning process shifts focus from receiving learning inputs to analysing those inputs.

This is a critical skill for students as they interact with a world in which knowledge management is more valuable than access. In this learning style, students think deeply about a problem and the actions they have taken to solve it and reflect upon the problem-solving process itself. The idea is that students will begin to question their assumptions and gain insight into what they are learning and how they learn.

Role of the learner

The learning objectives in the heutagogical approach are different from those of pedagogy and andragogy. The course and curriculum in heutagogical approach should have a learner-directed approach providing exposure to the students to the generally accepted concepts, ideas, methods, and principles. The course or curriculum should allow the learner the flexibility from identification to discovering specific subjects and ideas featuring in the textbook and from the web activities as deemed relevant.

What changes for the learner?

As we move forward, various economic, social, and technological factors keep on evolving. Our education system should reinvent itself to prepare our students to be lifelong learners, to be successful not only in academics but also in the profession. The coming together of the above factors has forced our higher education model to think beyond. Heutagogy offers a teaching and learning framework to address this need.

From a learner stand-point, it means:

  • Involvement of the learner in designing their own learning content and process
  • Keeping the curriculum flexible to include new questions
  • Individualization of learning to meet specific needs
  • Increase in collaborative learning
  • Providing learning resources and allowing the learner to figure out what is best for him/her
  • Belief and trust for the learner
  • Enabling informal learning

Not all students may have the same interests and motivations for taking any course. Hence, there should not be content-specific learning goals required. Rather, the approach should be that each student can decide which specific content topics to focus on and discuss. The desired outcome of this self-determined learning approach will be to enhance student abilities to identify salient issues that are personally most interesting and most relevant and then orchestrate learning activities that result in meaningful cognitive growth and behavioral change.

In other words, each learner sets the tone for clearly identified learning goals. This is the heart and soul of a heutagogical design — a trip to which the learner decides on his needs, frames his learning goals, decides on the learning process, and continuously challenges the assumptions to enhance the learning experience.

Source: India Today

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