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Heutagogy demands a transformed trainer role: Here’s how

Marked by a student-centric instructional strategy, heutagogy is focused on life-long learning with the aim to attune learners to the new-age demands of the new-age workplace.

By Sunil Dahiya

From an educator-centric to a learner-centric experience is the essence of the Heutagogy journey, where subject learning and skills development is marked by a high degree of autonomy and self-determination that challenge ideas, concepts, and assumptions.

Heutagogy, therefore, is a self-discovery and self-learning process that is independent of formal teaching. Marked by a student-centric instructional strategy, heutagogy is focused on life-long learning with the aim to attune learners to the new-age demands of the new-age workplace.

Training in Heutagogy

While pedagogy is teacher-driven learning and andragogy is self-driven learning, heutagogy takes a new approach. In standard pedagogy, the teachers decide what students will learn and how they will learn. Students rely on their teacher and learn topics in the order in which they are presented. In Andragogy, the teacher is a mentor or guide and encourages students to find their own solutions to the tasks given.

However, the heutagogical approach enables students to discover their own problems and questions for which they seek an answer. Instead of fulfilling the tasks that teachers assign, students seek out areas of uncertainty and complexity in the subjects they study. Teachers help by providing the context to the students to enable them to create opportunities for exploring the subjects comprehensively.

Role of trainer

In today’s world where information is available with a click, the trainer is no longer the sole upholder of subject expertise. His role has shifted and is evolving rapidly by the day. As Heutagogy is ‘self-determined’ learning where learners determine their own goals, learning paths, and requirements, the learner, therefore, is at the center of the learning process.

Hence, the teacher can be a great facilitator or an enabler, or a buddy who makes the student enjoy the flexible learning process.

An Enabler facilitator:

The teacher will continue to have an important role to play as a guide to the student and will remain the first point of contact for the student for guidance. The student will continue to look upon the teacher for advice and suggestions. The teacher will enable opening up of the student’s minds helping him/her choose the best available options for knowledge.

Teachers need to have a mindset of how to make the students explore and learn in the best way they want to learn and guide them to reach to right learning conclusions. It’s a shift from “we need to learn this today and open the textbooks” to “this is what we all need to learn today and these are various ways to learn the same”. Some students might like to watch a video; some find listening to audio as sufficient, some want to visit an application area and ask questions, and some read lot of material on the web, etc. All are ways to ensure that the concept is well learned with application orientation.

Role of technology for teachers

Knowledge of technology tools will become an integral part of any trainer to be successful in the heutagogical process. While a lot has been done already to make the teachers tech-savvy, the need now is to mainstream and update their training at regular intervals.

With flexibility in learning as a hallmark, the heutagogy model should provision for unscheduled learning time to enable the learners to explore and understand what’s happening around and discuss. This is essential to keep them abreast of the latest updates.

Assessment systems have to be radically changed to include various chosen ways of learning by students on one side and myriad ways of getting assessed on the other. The learner can define the best ways to learn and to get evaluated.

Different students have different interests and motivations for taking a particular course. Hence, content-specific learning goals should not be a focus. Instead, the approach should be that each student can decide on topics of study, discussion and debate.

The desired objective of this learner-focused ecosystem is to enhance the capability of each student by identifying core issues that are uniquely interesting and relevant to his/her learning curve. This can then be channelized and orchestrated towards meaningful cognitive growth and behavioral change. In other words, each learner sets her/his own content-specific learning objectives. This is the centerpiece of a heutagogical design.

Source: India Today

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