Skip to content

Tag: heutagogy

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.

Image Source:


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:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

POT Cert Week 18: whether to take an off the peg LMS or cobble one together, that is the question #potcert

Essentially, this week’s POTCert task is to learn about a course/learning management system (CMS/LMS) “with which you are not familiar”. Well, in my case that won’t be difficult because in truth I’m not really that familiar with any of them. Not as a learner, and certainly not as a tutor.

In week 2, when I set out on this journey, I was asked to think about where I was in terms of getting started. At the time, I wanted the focus of my teaching, or facilitation, to be on discussion and on group activities, so I offered the following comments:

I’m investigating the types of social learning platforms that are currently available to me. I’ve seen Buddypress in action and really like how this could be used to support my project but despite Ko and Rossen avowing that you don’t need to be a computer expert, I don’t have the skills or technological capacity to ‘self-host’ it. I’ve also heard of Instructure Canvas, which can be hosted in the cloud, but again it looks like it’s designed for a bigger project than the one I envisage. Therefore, I’m going to have to explore how I can make it all hang together using a combination of familiar discussion and collaboration applications like Facebook, Blogger or WordPress and Google Docs. Wish me luck.

At this point, Ted Major jumped into the conversation and offered me his positive insights of using Canvas. So, I investigated the platform and went ahead and signed up for a free tutor account. Since then, I’ve made a start at getting familiar with the platform, and outlining the course structure and loading content.

I made the point in week 3 that I wasn’t coming from the position of “converting” a f2f course and that I wanted my course design to reflect my pedagogical goals; I was keen to avoid what Lisa refers to as “insidious pedagogy“. That is, where the parameters of the technology influence the pedagogical choices available. So, in this respect the Canvas platform seemed to offer much of what I was looking for, everyday web tools readily integrated into the platform along with a philosophy that claims to support “flexible pedagogy”.

So, to get a feel for the platform in operation, I recently participated in a couple of open courses hosted on the Canvas Network, Mooc Mooc and Social Media. The classes were entirely different in their approach, indeed it’s probably not really fair to compare them. However, if I recall this correctly, it seems that one was designed to be perceived as operating on the open web with Canvas providing the underpinning  course architecture, whilst the design of the other promotes the Canvas platform in the first instance and then looks out onto the web. Like I say, it’s not really fair to compare them, and for reasons that I’m not totally sure of, the Mooc Mooc course, for me, wasn’t a total success. Maybe it was over ambitious given that it was only a week long course, which at heart sought to represent something of the freedom found on the web. On the other front, I found the Social Media course to be somewhat claustrophobic. It seems straight-jacketed into the LMS, and despite advocating the use of participatory social media tools and allowing for some group activities, it’s pedagogy is largely tutor centred.

At this point, I might add that since the start of the course I think my pedagogical goals have altered somewhat and become more wide ranging. Initially, I declared that I wanted my focus to be on discussion and group activities and that I was investigating a suitable supporting “social learning” platform. However, thinking more closely, what do I actually mean when I say “social learning” platform. It’s here that I recall Harold Jarche saying, “social learning is how work gets done in the network era“. I’m increasingly coming to think of social learning as learning in networks. It’s probably why the following tweet caught my eye this week, and resonates so loudly.

In addition, the terms that I initially used, “discussions” and “group activities”, don’t now seem to be as network facing as the terms “conversations” and “collaboration”.  Consequently, I’ve arrived back at my original quandary in relation to the optimum choice of platform and I’m wondering if I might be better served as Miguel Guhlin suggests by using Google Apps, or any collection of web based tools, and “cobbling together an LMS” of my own.

Cobbling together an LMS
Cobbling together an LMS

Although this sounds a bit daunting, I can appreciate how such a move would serve to facilitate the new set of pedagogy required for teaching and learning on the web as well support the principle of heutogogy that’s necessary for the development of self-directed learning, which Miguel Guhlin also refers to.

Image Source:

Valentyna Sagan (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Lane, L. (2009) Insidious Pedagogy. How Course Management Systems Impact Teaching. Available at:

Jarche, H. (2013) Social Learning in Business. Available at:

Guhlin, M. (2013) Using GoogleApps as a Free #LMS. Available at:

Guhlin, M. (2013) Cobbling Together an LMS: Towards Self-Directed Learning. Available at:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.