Double-loop learning about Heutagogy #EDUC90970

As part of my course “Facilitating online learning” #EDUC90970, I’m having the opportunity to read more about education. I’m quite familiar with most educational concepts, so I was quite intrigued when a new word came along: Heutagogy.

Heutagogy is a humanistic instructional strategy based on many well-established theories, such as self-efficacy, self-determination, self-regulated learning, self-directed learning and constructivism (a summary of these can be found in Blaschke & Hase, 2019). It has been defined as a student-centred self-determined learning experience. Below some of the original authors of Heutagogy defined it one tweet:

An Heutagogic learning design gets students to explore, create, collaborate, connect, reflect and share as part of their learning experience. At its core, it puts students in a position where they become an active agent of their learning process.

The learner is in much more control of their own learning in this approach than in Andragogy, for example. Although there may be some environmental constraints, learners are involved in each step of the way. This includes their participation in co-creating a learning contract, activities and outcomes, as presented below in an image of the Heutagogic Design Process (Blaschke & Hase, 2016).

Such autonomy and involvement is believed to promote a deep learning experience, or a double-looping learning, in which students acquire new knowledge while also changing their believes and views of the world. As Hase and Kenyon (2013) stated, “learning results in a whole new set of questions to ask” (p.24), taking students in an individual and self-motivated learning journey. Which, in turn, shifts the teacher to a facilitator role, or a partner of the learning process, helping students to shape and achieve their own goals, and monitor their journey to get there.

To be honest, I couldn’t quite understand or visualise how to apply Heutagogy until I got into the double-looping learning about it myself. Our #EDUC90970 teacher Thom Cochrane mentioned in a comment of a previous post here that an example of this approach included Montessori education in early-learning education. This is when it all started to make sense to me. I went to a Montessori school for most of my childhood, until I was 11 years old. I remember being very enthusiastic about learning and loving the freedom to move between learning objects as I pleased. I often wondered whether there would be a similar approach to adult education – so here it is – Heutagogy.

So how could I as a teacher re-create similar experiences to my own students, particularly in online environments? This seems to be the beginning of a journey, as the more I read about Heutagogy more questions I have and the more I notice my thinking about teaching changing. Over the last two weeks, I already noticed that my thinking started to move from “How am I going to teach this?” to “How am I going to facilitate and support students’ to learn about this?”. I would like to provide students with freedom to explore the content, while connecting it to their own interest and prior knowledge. I’m not quite sure how this would look like, but there seems to be many more articles for me to read about it to help me in my journey. As this course progresses I hope to go deeper into it, particularly when designing my online course as part of the assignment for the #EDUC90970 subject.


Blaschke L.M., Hase S. (2016) Heutagogy: A Holistic Framework for Creating Twenty-First-Century Self-determined Learners. In Gros B., Kinshuk, Maina M. (Eds), The Future of Ubiquitous Learning. Lecture Notes in Educational Technology (pp. 25-40). Springer.

Blaschke, L. M., & Hase, S. (2019). Heutagogy and digital media networks. Pacific Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning1(1), 1-14.

Hase, S., & Kenyon, C. (2013). The nature of learning. In S. Hase & C. Kenyon (Eds.), Self-determined learning: Heutagogy in action (pp. 19-35). Bloomsbury Academic.

7 thoughts on “Double-loop learning about Heutagogy #EDUC90970

  1. Hi Paula, I agree that I love the concept of heutagogy, but I still find it hard to imagine how I would apply this in my courses. In my last blog post I focused on an application of this approach within my discipline (marine science) that helped me visualise how it could look!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rebecca, I’m on the same boat… Still trying to get my head around how it would apply to courses. My guess is that it would look a lot like our #EDUC90970 subject… Looking forward to read your post to see what what you are thinking about it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. HI Paula,

    Thanks for this interesting and informative post. I am new to the heutagogy design process, and reading your post has been a great introduction. Although it would be challenging and time consuming to plan and implement, it could have really great outcomes and lead to a great student experience. There is also evidence that this approach is valued/desired by higher education students – see Stoszkowski and McCarthy (2018)

    I am trying to imagine applying this student-directed double loop approach to a very large student cohort. I think that although this would be particularly challenging, it is possible. In regards to student contracts, in a large cohort you would not be able to negotiate learning outcomes and assessments with each individual student. I wonder if a democratic approach, e.g., providing options/directions for students to vote on, would still sit within this framework, or whether students who do not receive their preferred option would feel disengaged. The real-time adaptation of curriculum would require substantially more work from the facilitator (i.e., teacher). For example, lecturers would be unable to “recycle” the same lectures/assignments/marking rubrics, etc. year after year. Perhaps one of the reasons that we still see so much teacher-centric pedagogy in higher education is that teachers are not given the time, resources or skills to take a heutagogical approach.

    The point you made about Montessori education was really intriguing. I have a close friend who is an early childhood education specialist, and we often wonder why education looks so different at different ages, when our learning processes remain relatively unchanged across the lifespan. In early childhood education you are encouraged to explore, create, collaborate, connect, reflect, test out the world, create, fail, try again, succeed, fun, etc. (i.e., heutagogy). And yet in high school, and higher education, you are expected to sit, listen, process, understand, repeat, problem solve, etc. (i.e., pedagogy and andragogy). This paper Abraham and Ramnarayan (2017) compared these designs nicely –

    Although we are a far way off, I wonder if heutagogy is the future of higher education…




    1. Hi Caitlyn, thanks for the comment and references. I have many many questions about the application of an heutagogical approach in current higher education system… large cohorts are definitely a challenge, so not sure how it applies. From my experience tutoring large cohorts I guess a lot would fall into peer learning and tutors. This only brings up other challenges though, such as students preparedness to uptake a very autonomous approach, particularly first-year undergraduate students. Looking forward to read more about implementations of Heutagogy in higher education (e.g., Hase & Kenyon, 2013 to see what has been done so far about it. Keep me updated if you come across anything interesting!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at
Get started
%d bloggers like this: