Wednesday, 11 June 2014

#CALRG14 #heutagogy as option & thoughts on learners and education emerged

During the #CALRG14 conference, something emerged in my minds eye: fluidity and the move from fixed learning outcome driven education to more fluid information sharing and resulting knowledge. The Open University, and all universities for that matter, are traditionally interested in providing information to construct field related knowledge, which is assessed, and possibly results in some sort of certification that can be used for personal satisfaction or professional enhancement. But during CALRG14 the focus on informal learning, and specifically the move towards students (e.g. students linked to the NQuire project using informal learning with young k12 students) and adult amateurs (= this term was used most of the time to describe adults that are interested in a particular field but did not (yet) have the opportunity to become expert in it) producing not only content, but also their experiences as they get more experienced in either the learning platform, their collaborative capacities, and their content insights. So in a way I got the feeling that education, or what is taught, is moving from expert stages towards experienced peers with certified experts guiding the peers that want to enhance their field of expertise in a certain topic. What Bernard shared coming from just one really prolific MOOC learner covered this personal drive towards knowledge that we - as learners - are willing to access and embrace. 
Another big strand of what was shared during this conference, was the increased use of meaningful analysis tools: best example I heard was the Juxtalearn approach which looked at concept coverage and connected it to actual assessments (which were any types of quizzes), as well as concept hurdles that were self-reported by teachers/students.
We live in such creative times! As the rigid printed books are being exchanged for continuous beta content (great share on the subject of Dialogic by Rupert Wegerif on how printed books might have been the reason for closed education as born during industrial era), and as such the books make room for beta status learning platforms and even mash-ups that can be built or designed based on participatory input to improve learning as expected by different learners and their contexts.

The ideas that stuck in my mind all evolve around similar key words like: personal path finder, learning goals, learning journey, meaning making, shared meaning, ... personal learning goals and how to reach them as a learner whether expert or not in a specific field. 


Looking at all these changes, heutagogy becomes even more important as a learning concept to me. In an ideal world learners would find their place in this world based upon their interest, and their interest could be explored, absorbed, and take shape by means of connecting to others (chosen by the learners, not necessarily related to co-course participants and such), learning those topics that fit personal learning goals and/or interests. This diversity of learning paths could result in complimentary knowledge that makes up the whole world, and makes every member of the world important as we will all understand that complimentarity connects all of us. Well, idealistic but nice thought. (image from: http://www2.hcs.sa.edu.au/en-us/curriculum/seniorschool/year10/personallearningplan(plp).aspx )