Posts Tagged ‘heutagogy’

Is Heutagogy the Future of Education?

In Wired for Culture Mark Pagel points out that

 “Modern humans seem, uniquely among animals, capable of something that psychologists and anthropologists call cultural or social learning”.

Homo Sapiens rise to civilisation was based on this capability for learning but, on the many occasions that we have tried to design an education system for our species, we have invariably failed to improve on our original ability to learn socially. In Plato’s Academy 2500 years ago Socrates was already warning that the new-fangled invention of writing with symbolic language would result in something poorer than existing oral culture. We were about to become mediated by tools less flexible than our face-to-face conversational framework.

Socrates was talking during the first axial age when the settlement-based civilisations of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth switched to an underpinning metaphor of life that was based on a materialist creator God, because we were building cultures out of the crude raw materials we extracted from nature.

Universities, whether Arabic or Western, were originally built around sharing the ideas captured in the books that Socrates had warned about writing in the first place. Universities were originally built on the principle of disseminating this new monotheism (the only basis on which a Royal Charter would be granted in the UK) and when Paris and Bologna spotted that self-organised “communities of scholars” were visiting their cities with money to spend they incorporated universities in order to benefit from the cash spend of scholars; nothing new there then. Universities were built in order to take money off scholars whilst drilling them to think in a singular fashion based on a “learning by rote” copying down of rare and selected texts.

Fortunately the medieval university evolved the Liberal Arts model of Education which, at Bachelors level, involved the development of multiple skills of expression (music, rhetoric, grammar, etc) and only at Masters level was subject mastery (hence the name) the basis of education. This was eventually replace by the integrated Prussian model of a “nation-building” education during the nineteenth-century when the nation-state became fashionable as did national languages, a national curriculum and standardisation of all things.

The 7 Liberal Arts; Grammar Rhetoric Logic (Dialectic) Music Geometry Mathematics Astronomy

When, in 1970 as a school leaver, I came to choose between going to an English University, where the purpose of studying was driven by the Oxbridge model of training colonial administrators who could run the British Empire, or going to a Polytechnic to gain the skills necessary to maintain the factories of the Industrial Revolution, I was completely bemused. The British Empire had effectively collapsed in 1956 (Suez crisis) whilst British industry had been in terminal decline after Bretton Woods (1946) which ensured the loss of the closed markets that the Empire had previously guaranteed. I chose instead to enter the cultural industries (popular music) that the creative working class had spontaneously created during the 1960s using the tools made available by the Analogue Revolution. With the exception of some Art Colleges, usually seen as places for school children who had failed in the examinations of the formal education system, as John Lennon, Keith Richard Pete Townsend had (and in differing ways Mary Quant and Pauline Boty), there was no education available for the fastest-growing sector of the British Economy. Why? (more…)

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World Heutagogy Day 2020

World Heutagogy Day on 23rd September is when we both celebrate the publication of the first book on heutagogy, Self-Determined Learning edited by Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon, and also try to both extend our understanding of heutagogy and identify new practices. The slideshare “What is Heutagogy” produced as a curated conversation by the authors of this collection of essays on the practice of heutagogy is a good introduction to heutagogy and reflects where we were with our understanding back in 2013.

Developing Heutagogy This year, because of the remarkable work of Vijaya Bhanu Kote a headteacher of a primary school in Andhara Pradesh India, we are focussing on “Heutagogy for Teachers” based on sharing her work in developing her school into a heutagogy school. This consists of more than just an abstract declaration that the school will practice heutagogy. It involves the very practical activity of training teachers in methods in which they can help their primary school children become what Vijaya calls “heutagogs” and producing a training guide. Remarkably Vijaya has involved the parents at her school who also become “heutagogs” and are involved helping their children become self-determined learners, or “heutagogs”. She has summarised her work in the following presentation.

Implementing Heutagogy for Teachers 

All teachers want their learners to do well; they want them to thrive, develop and grow. In the main their institutions get in the way of this ambition. Schools mistakenly measure success at the institutional level through examination results.  Educational “success” is quantified and measured in exam results, still based on what we call the content fallacy.

The content fallacy is the belief that education is entirely about the transfer of pre-defined subject knowledge from the almost-full memory of an active teacher into the empty memory cells of passive learners.

Pedagogy, as one theory of teaching, is about the better design of that content transfer. Pedagogy starts with the subject knowledge as “content” to be transferred from teacher to learner taken as a given. 900 years ago it was just copying a book in your own handwriting. In the 21st century it is writing down lecture notes as dictated by a teacher. Learners are seen as empty vessels into which we pour endless chunks of content to be memorised and our “high-stakes assessment” system is there to police that memorisation. In short, schools are not learner-centric and teachers are not rewarded for putting learners, and learning first, but for exam results. How can we improve that? (more…)

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 World Heutagogy Day 2019 #wHday19

Every year on 26th September we celebrate the publication of the first book on Heutagogy in 2013 called Self-Determined Learning, for that is what it is. Edited by the (fathers) of Heutagogy Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon it featured a range of contributions about how we might define, describe and so enable self-determined learning. That was just a start, as we now run World Heutagogy Day every year.

In response to Greta Thunberg’s call for a climate strike we are looking this year at How Can We Green Our Learning?  World I’ve been running workshops at New Cross Learning to both turn that into a Green Library with resources to help #GreenMyLearning, and to do some thinking about what I have learnt in 40 years of trying to Green My Own Learning. Ive done a lot starting with discovery the (father) of Green Anarchism Kropotkin and his alt.Darwin view of Mutual Aid. Curiously, like David Bowie they both lived in Bromley…  I’ve been a Governor of a Green Research organisation, CoPIRG, done 2 Masters theses on the Environmental Impact of Computing, I’ve Greened My Teaching, Greened my Institution, set up a Green Education Centre, set up a Green Transition Town,  created Green Money and abandoned my car for walking and public transport in 2008. This is how I’ve worked on making my own learning as green as I’m allowed to…

World Heutagogy Day, held annually every 26th September, we update both our thinking and our practice on Heutagogy with a discussion around a topic, which we collate into a Curated Conversation. The Curated Conversation is a kind of “wisdom of crowds” approach which allows shared themes to emerge and present a diverse, but collaborative, view of our thinking. We do this by collecting individual contributions of 50 words each answering the same question. So How Do Green Our Learning in 50 words? Contributions as follows;

How Do We Green Our Learning

Theme1 Ecosystems

Fred Garnett; “To Green our learning we must learn to learn from nature and not just receive instruction from texts
Nature talks to us in waves and particles. If we ride the waves together we can transcend our particular limitations. We are nature and it is our shared ecosystem of resources”

Nigel Ecclesfield “Knowing the living world requires me to understand that I am a body/ecology with five times as many live, bacterial cells as there are cells from my own DNA and that I need to understand this and many other interpenetrations of being we call ecologies. I also need to learn how to contribute to nurturing the meta-ecology we call Earth.

Stewart Hase ‘To Green our Learning, we need to enable learners: to use their natural, innate ability to learn rather than interfere with a perfect system by teaching; and to find their natural talents and maximise them. Learning is a natural ecosystem that we should enhance rather than interfere with

Theme 2 Planet & Lifestyles

Vijaya Bhanu Kote; “To Green our learning, we must green our life styles. To Green our learning, we must implement the 3R’s formula in every walk of life. Teach the kids the same. Life style change towards Greening shall lead us to pollution free planet. Sustainability must be a deed rather than a word.

Lemke Kamps ACTION! Protecting our Earth is important. Positive education and awareness are the key. Green activities will give us the mindset to realize our planet’s value. When we all work together, we can minimize the damage we cause to our rare planet and set the course for a brighter, greener future

Bridget McKenzieFor the planet to sustain life so that we can live in abundance, we need to learn together and fast. Our cultural values need to shift towards an ecological way of knowing. We say the devil is in the detail, but we forget it’s also in the patterns

Theme3 Movement & Natural Curiosity

Paul Chapman We can green our learning by going out into nature rather than just sitting and looking at photos of Ladywell Fields. I learnt more by putting on waders and walking in Deptford Creek than from 100 conferences. You need to see and smell the natural world to learn from it

Kate Faragher We Green our Learning by moving our bodies.  When we walk and talk, we learn and listen in a different way. When we move, dance or exercise after study or work, we embed the learning into our bodies.  When we exercise we engage our mind differently and can innovate.

Tony Wheeler “Be curious, confident and question authority (what’s in it for them?).
Be a generalist, look for connections.
Never specialise in someone else’s facts and tests.
Open your heart and find people to help you understand, value and change things.
Have fun and tell better stories than growth fixated consumer fetishists.”

Ian Woolley “I green my learning by asking questions about the things that I use. What is it made of? Where did it come from? Why does it look like that? Who made it? Can I take it apart? Can I adapt it? Can I fix it? Do I need it?

And 2 more themes which are… (more…)

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Teaching & learner-centred learning

In A History of Teaching in 10 Lectures I discussed the quality of accidentally discovering truths about teaching by bumping into the expectations of learners.
This process of bumping into the expectations of learners ended up, for me, in developing a technique I called educational brokering. Captured well in this interview with David Jennings on creating “learner-generated contexts.

Other teachers developed other techniques, and I referred to Bernie Dodge of San Diego who invented WebQuests, or rather co-created WebQuests, with an SDSU class. Back in 1994 and lacking material (or perhaps being unprepared) Bernie decided to run a class as a debate discussing the question “is browsing learning?” He had noticed that people using the, then newly invented, web spent a lot of time “just browsing, thanks.” He thought his class would be split 50/50 and his unprepared 50 minutes would pass easily by in the gentle to-and-fro of debate. Instead EVERYONE said “browsing IS learning, thanks” and so they spent the next 48 minutes inventing WebQuests in order to capture browsing as learning. Or described as Heutagogy, 48 minutes were spent in the co-creation of a self-determined learning tool.

More explicit applied Heutagogy was displayed by the wonderful Thom Cochrane who took the PAH Continuum, which he discovered by just browsing, thanks, and (more…)

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Heutagogy and the Digital Future of Education

Presentation at DTCE Manchester University

This is an overview of my work on digital projects since 1995 and how it might inform us about the future.

If you want to ask questions or have some of the points expanded please post questions below;

Fred Garnett 24 May 2018

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April 2018 Bucharest, Romania
This week I ran a workshop with Corina Anghelscu at Universitate Alternativea in Bucharest. She invited UA members to submit questions for me to discuss and, because most questions were on Creativity & Learning we built the workshop around the World Heutagogy Day 2016 workshop resource Creativity in Learning which I curated. The Curated Conversation format is an expression of Heutagogy, I think, and we posed the organising question “Is Heutagogy the Pedagogy of Creativity?” And this resource is based on the replies, along with some photos contributed by Tony Hall to illustrate the themes.
Questions from Universitate Alternativea

1. What is creativity?

2. What are the characteristics of the creative process

3. How to bring social learning into Learning design

4. How to trigger creativity, innovation and self-decisions for learners?

5. How to develop digital tools?

1.  What is creativity?

Big question, which we discussed well. It’s doing something original, for yourself. People often say “we shouldn’t reinvent the wheel” My answer is,  (more…)

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Heutagogy, Meaning-making and Wellbeing

September 26th The Monastery Manchester

World Heutagogy Day 2017 #wHday17 This year we will be celebrating the 5th World Heutagogy Day, this year in partnership with the Monastery. We will be discussing how the practice of heutagogy might help in developing our meaning making and perhaps help our wellbeing.


Here is an overview of previous World Heutagogy Days, from 2013-2017;

As in previous years we will produce a curated conversation from our discussion, as with the original What is Heutagogy?

Taking Part This blog will track and pull together the resources identified. We ask you to contribute your ideas and point to your work in this area. Discussion will be online on Twitter using the #hashtag #wHday17 and on Facebook in the #myheutagogy group. 

World Heutagogy Day is used to support the idea of Self-Determined Learning, developed around the ideas first expressed by Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon in the paper From Andragogy to Heutagogy. They argue that in the 21st Century we need to think about learning beyond the ideas of pedagogy, teaching subjects to children, and the adult education model of andragogy (Knowles)  and move towards self-determined learning. “The concept of truly self-determined learning, called heutagogy, builds on humanistic theory and approaches to learning described in the 1950s.”

World Heutagogy Day 2016; Last year we discussed whether “Heutagogy is the pedagogy of creativity?”. We produced a workshop  resource for discussing and developing heutagogy as educational practice called Creativity in Learning;



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The Beatles Creativity

In 2007 I was part of the Learner-generated Contexts team that presented the Open Context Model of Learning at the launch of the OU’s Open Learn initiative. Our view was that if OER’s we being offered in a post-Web 2.0 world we also needed a new pedagogy. We believed that various approaches that existed to learning had developed with the limitations that came from the sector or institution in which they originated. However Open Learning means more than just “open access” which it seems to be limited to in the University sector, but means learning that is open to all and emergent. So we, the joint authors (from every sector of education) proposed a new “pedagogy” that was open to context. 

The Open Context Model of Learning was the result, fusing pedagogy, andragogy and heutagogy, and it is what this blog is about. The Learner-Generated Contexts presentation at OpenLearn was successful and loved by John Seely Brown. We were first asked to write that up for the Conference proceedings, which we did collaboratively as the Open Context Model of Learning  but that was rejected. We re-structured it as book chapter but I argued that we needed a more accessible form of publicising this work and wrote a novel 63/68 A Visceral History which I subsequently publicised by writing about The Beatles. At the request of Russell Francis I applied the Open Context Model of Learning to The Beatles recording career and found that they developed their recording craft in line with the PAH Continuum. All You Need is Heutagogy captures that and is, perhaps, an easy way into understanding Heutagogy;

I think the Beatles Career went through 6 phases;

1. Live 1957-1963 This was the period from the Woolton Fete in July 1957 when Paul McCartney was introduced to John Lennon after he played with The Quarrymen skiffle group, who played a Buddy Holly track that became their first recording –  That’ll Be The Day;

Until Love Me Do

During this time John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison they evolved into The Beatles who, with Pete Best on drums, became a great live rock n roll group. They were finding their identity together with help from their mates, hangers-on and admirers, and learning from the context they were in. Managed by Brian Epstein they got a recording contract and evolved, with the addition of Ringo Starr on drums, into a potential recording group.

2. Singles 1963-1964 Determined to make a hit record during their “pedagogic” phase they did as instructed by the music industry professionals they worked with, especially George Martin, in order to learn how to make hit records. They first achieved that with Please Please Me;  ;

They continued to develop as hit recording artists, the Pop Mop Tops, until Hard Days Night

Although by She Loves You they were stating what they, as a group, thought was a hit record as opposed to being directed towards a hit by George Martin, who was describing himself as their “school teacher” at this time. They disagreed on the ending & The Beatles prevailed over Martin; She loves You was the biggest selling single of the 60s.


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Self-Determined Learning

Edited by Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon; the book Self-Determined Learning – Heutagogy in Action is published by @BloomsburyAcad on September 26th 2013 and we are calling September 26th World Heutagogy Day to promote the book, heutagogy and heutagogic practice. There will be a second World Heutagogy Day on September 26th 2014

The book is more than just a primer on heutagogy, in a way that was achieved with their “From Andragogy to Heutagogy“. The book has been written more than 10 years later and captures a range of ideas and practice that build on those original ideas from a range of practitioners and educationalists, all of whom add to the theory of heutagogy directly or indirectly. They are pulling this together on the Heutagogy Community of Practice blog

What is Heutagogy? on Slideshare is a “curated conversation” introducing the book chapter by chapter…

Twitter Hashtag #wHday13 more Twitter @HeutagogyCop and (more…)

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Pedagogy, Andragogy & Heutagogy

Background; This was first a guest post on Stewart Hase’s Heutagogy Community of Practice blog; you can follow them on Twitter as @heutagogycop. I’ve reblogged it here because the PAH Continuum, as a reference point, is a key part of our work concerning heutagogy. I am currently spending most of my time working on WikiQuals which is a heutagogic answer to the accreditation of learning problem; more on the WikiQuals blog.

In my teaching practice, mostly with socially excluded kids attempting to get some qualifications in college, I developed a number of techniques for showing them how to be successful on their own terms. College is classically a context in which an andragogic approach works best, where you negotiate with your students to find an agreed learning path. In the Computer Studies department where I worked, at Lewisham College in London, we had developed our own universal entry test, followed by an interview, which everyone took. We had found this process to be a better predictor of success that their school results, which usually just measured their dissatisfaction with an education system which was designed to fail them. We then offered to the prospective student what seemed to be appropriate courses and subjects on which they might be successful.

However, over time, I developed a technique that I now call brokering that was much more about negotiating with the learner (more…)

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