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POT Cert Week 19: promoting self-determination with web-enhanced teaching and learning #potcert

This week POTCert moves on to consider Web-enhanced, hybrid and open classes, as discussed in Chapter 13 of Teaching Online: A Practical Introduction (Ko & Rossen, 2013). For me, this chapter, in what otherwise is proving to be a very useful textbook, seems somewhat nebulous and vague; I didn’t really connect on any great level with the material presented. The chapter seems awash with bland statements like, “when you make the Web an integral part of the course work, you automatically make it more relevant and valuable to your students and yourself alike” (p. 369). Maybe it’s as this week’s course introduction notes says, “we can barely agree to what these terms mean never mind engage in thoughtful conversation about how to explore, maximize, develop, enrich, investigate, scrutinize, and experiment with and upon these variations in online learning schemes”.

Web-enhanced learning opportunities

Having said that though, one section did manage to gain my attention and allow me to think, in part, of what might be involved in web-enhanced learning. The section in question was, “Using the Web as a Student Presentation Medium”. Reading this section put me in mind of a couple of instances that I’ve come across recently, instances that exhibit approaches in which learners choose how they’d like to present their learning and/or that encourage them to present their learning artefacts on the Web. Such approaches can be seen as helping promote self-determination of the learner.

Before I outline the instances that I have in mind, I ought to say that in my last post, I mentioned how coming to think of the Web as the learning platform, rather than the LMS, can support self-directed learning. However, I referred to self directed learning as heutagogy, which, as it turns out, might not be quite the right terminology. Heutagogy is seen as self-determined learning, whereas andragogy is seen as self-directed learning (Blaschke, 2012).

Anyhow, in relation to the Web and social media, Lisa Marie Blaschke explains that:

Web 2.0 design supports a heutagogical approach by allowing learners to direct and determine their learning path and by enabling them to take an active rather than passive role in their individual learning experiences.

A recent article by Fred Garnett, outlining a model called the “PAH Continuum” (pedagogy, andragogy & heutagogy), seems, to me, to provide, in the final phase, an ideal opportunity for learners to exercise self-determination and, if they so wish, use the web as their presentation medium:

Start with a known subject, the delivery of which a teacher is confident with (pedagogy), negotiate with the learners how they might study that subject in ways that motivate them (andragogy), and offer creative ways in which they might express what they have learnt (heutagogy).

The other instance that I can think of, of learners being allowed to exercise self-determination and present their work on the Web, can be found in the recent eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC offered by Edinburgh University. The course, in the first instance, for content gave learners access to resources on the open Web, and then for the final assessment, encouraged learners to submit a digital artefact created on a Web application of their choice.

All-in-all, this has been a tricky post to put together this week, not least because the term web-enhanced learning just seems so ridiculous to me. I mean, is there anybody in this day and age that does not use the web in some part to learn.

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Blaschke, L.M (2012) Heutagogy and Lifelong Learning: A Review of Heutagogical Practice and Self-Determined Learning. Available at:

Garnet, F. (2013) The PAH Continuum: Pedagogy, Andragogy & Heutagogy. Available at:

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Published inProgramme for Online Teaching


  1. Good posting. This link is a good one too. I like the reference to Rogers and the notion of not threatening the self of the learner by pushing too hard on things that are beyond the learner’s experience. Challenging is fine but something that a person can’t at some level make sense of won’t be “learned” only taken as an abstraction. The paper is short and the quotes are from it.

    “Moving from andragogy to heutagogy in vocational education”

    “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 workplace in the twenty-first century, particularly in the development of individual capability. A number of implications of heutagogy for vocational education are discussed.

    Rogers (1969) suggests that people want to learn and have a natural inclination to do so throughout their life. Indeed, he argues strongly that teacher-centred learning has been grossly over emphasised. He based his
    student-centred approach on five key hypotheses:

    We cannot teach another person directly: we can only facilitate learning;

    People learn significantly only those things that they perceive as being involved in the maintenance or enhancement of the structure of self;

    Experience, which if assimilated would involve a change in the organisation of self, tends to be resisted through denial or distortion of symbolisation, and the structure and organisation of self appear to become more rigid under threat;

    Experience which is perceived as inconsistent with the self can only be assimilated if the current organisation of self is relaxed and expanded to include it; and

    The educational system which most effectively promotes significant learning is one in which threat to the self, as learner, is reduced to a minimum.”

    • Thanks Scott, it was good to be reminded of Rogers’ person-centred take on learning. The article you mention looks particularly interesting; the summary certainly appeals:

      People know how to learn; they did it from birth until they went to school. It’s a question of helping them remember how to do it. We need to help people have confidence in their perceptions and how to question their interpretation of reality, within a framework of competence.

  2. I’d say you bumped up the level of conversation considerably, Helen, moving from the banal Web-assisted, hybrid, and blended to pedagogy, andragogy & heutagogy. I’ll have to read Blaschke’s study several times — it’s really rich and addresses a lot of questions I’ve been living. Questions like those in a recent discussion in Jenny Mackness’s blog (just after theOLDSMOOC’s launch) on how designing might be different from facilitating —

    Particularly interesting is Blaschke’s reference to Knowles (1975) and the empathy that instructors must have to guide students who aren’t comfortable with self-directed learning. I think you nailed it that “it’s a question of helping them remember how to do it.” And to succeed they have to trust you. Which reminds me of a Sir Ken Robinson’s reference to our need to “recover from our education.”

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