Advancing the Theory and Practice of Self-Determined Learning
The movement towards heutagogy faces overwhelming odds. Learning in primary and high school, learning in undergraduate and postgraduate and professional learning in the workplace have deeply entrenched practices, scaffolds and structures that support dependent learning rather than independent, learner-managed learning. I believe that a scaffold for heutagogic learning would provide a means for those wishing to use this approach.
While heutagogic principles will be used by people of that mindset there is a risk that it might not even be thought about by learning designers, developers and facilitators. If these people only have pedagogical tools to build learning opportunities with, then it is, in many ways, unlikely that the material will be accessible for a heutagogic learner.
For the heutagogic model to be more accepted as a relevant and favourable paradigm for a contemporary and future-focused approach to learning and teaching, some of the prevailing current models need to be disestablished and replaced.
This is just what we are doing with the mme moe software. (www.mme-moe.com)
Recently we interviewed twenty mme moe users. These ranged from pre-service teachers using mme moe as a personal professional learning tool during their professional experience, to very experienced teachers. Following is a precise of their views.
The interviewees reported that mme moe enabled them to access and engage in learning with a clear purpose. This purpose was directly connected to their personal identified needs and applicable to the classroom in which they were working. They were able to identify a clear purpose for professional learning that they felt was productive and valuable.
Personal learning pathways increase engagement
They reported that they were able to address their own different needs, strengths, and learning styles, as opposed to being receivers at a conference, a lecture or even a workshop. In order to focus and support learning goals, they liked the access to their teacher competency framework, and the capacity to self-reflect, self-assess and develop their own personal professional learning plan. If they found a learning object that didn’t engage them, they quickly left it behind and found another, and were able to keep looking until they found something that engaged them in the way they needed. In particular, they looked for learning objects which modelled how they wanted to manage learning in their own classrooms.
They reported that the capacity to learn when it was best for them was extremely powerful. The capacity to access learning objects at their own pace, place, time and path gave them the feeling that they were in charge of their own learning. As teachers they value professional learning, but often couldn’t make time for it when and where it was offered. mme moe enabled them to effectively use the time they had to connect, collaborate and learn. Happily, they also reported that time used on the daily habit of reflection, and for some, journaling, wasn’t an issue at all.
They reported that they were hungrily looking forward to mme moe’s collaboration functionality (the beginning of which has just been released). Some reported that they felt the need to engage with others who are invested in solving similar problems and issues.
We believe we are producing a learning scaffold that transfers the technology of coaching and of heutagogic learning into the hands of the learner.