Self-determined learning

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In the abstract of ‘From Andragogy to Heutagogy’ December 2000, Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon, from Southern Cross University ( state:

“In something of a landmark for education Knowles (1970) suggested an important change in the way in which educational experiences for adults should be designed. The approach, known as andragogy, contrasts quite sharply with pedagogy which is the teaching of children. This paper suggests there is benefit in moving from andragogy towards truly self-determined learning. The concept of truly self-determined learning, called heutagogy, builds on humanistic theory and approaches to learning described in the 1950s. It is suggested that heutagogy is appropriate to the needs of learners in the twenty-first century, particularly in the development of individual capability. A number of implications of heutagogy for higher education and vocational education are discussed.”

So what are the key differences between andragogy and heutagogy? Wikipedia ( puts it succinctly:

“Heutagogy places specific emphasis on learning how to learn, double loop learning, universal learning opportunities, a non-linear process, and true learner self-direction. So, for example, whereas andragogy focuses on the best ways for people to learn, heutagogy also requires that educational initiatives include the improvement of people’s actual learning skills themselves, learning how to learn as well as just learning a given subject itself. Similarly, whereas andragogy focusses on structured education, in heutagogy all learning contexts, both formal and informal, are considered.”(Samantha Chapnick and Jimm Meloy (2005). ‘From Andragogy to Heutagogy’. Renaissance elearning: creating dramatic and unconventional learning experiences. Essential resources for training and HR professionals. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 36–37. ISBN 0787971472.)

Whether we consider this proposal in the more formal educational arena or the growing informal environment, it raises a number of practical implementation questions:

  • What will help start the heutagogical revolution?
  • How will formal education adapt to accept this seemingly less academic approach to learning?
  • Why would business accept this approach to learning?
  • Where will people record their self-determined learning to proof of learning to employers?
  • Who will accredit self-determined learning?

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