Blended learning has been around since the early 2000s but with the current shift in higher education from 2.0 to 3.0, though, it has become more important than ever. Core to this is the development and implementation of new forms of education technology or EdTech, significantly transformed the way students learn.
Thanks to its interactive and challenging characteristics, blended learning is remarkable for promoting Metacognitive ability. When it is done correctly, blended learning has the ability to build upon core curricula by adding the element of soft and hard skills into a cohesive learning environment.
Education 3.0 is all about a change in paradigms. Instructors are no longer at the front of education. Instead, education focuses on student-centered learning and instructors take on the roll of mentors.
And this is possible thanks to blended learning strategies, high-functioning EdTech, and a variety of other forms of innovative technological developments that, now incorporated into higher education, benefit the college students greatly.
In Classroom 3.0, both humans and computer agents can interact with the environment. In Classroom 3.0 the real world meets the virtual world through exciting technologies which are now being used in education such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and holograms. Education 3.0 is a constructivist approach to learning and teaching with heutagogy at its core.
In fact, heutagogy, which is a form of self-determined learning with practices and principles rooted in andragogy, has recently resurfaced as a learning approach after a decade or so of limited attention, according to Dr. Lisa Marie Blaschke from Oldenburg University and University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and a Member of the International Advisory Board for the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education (ETHE). She states this in her paper, Heutagogy and Lifelong Learning: A Review of Heutagogical Practice and Self-Determined Learning (PDF) published by the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning.
“In a heutagogical approach to teaching and learning, learners are highly autonomous and self-determined, and emphasis is placed on development of learner capacity and capability with the goal of producing learners who are well-prepared for the complexities of today’s workplace,” according to Dr. Blaschke.
A heutagogy approach has been proposed as a theory for applying to emerging technologies in virtual/distance education and for guiding virtual/distance education practice as well as the ways in which virtual/distance educators develop and deliver instruction using newer technologies such as social media.
For Dr. Blaschke, virtual education is in a unique position for creating learning environments for supporting heutagogy teaching and learning approach, as well as for contributing to further research into heutagogy.
According to Dr. Blaschke, specific characteristics of virtual or distance education which align themselves with heutagogy include:
- Profile of the virtual or distance education learner
- Learner autonomy
The higher education response to heutagogy has been one of reluctance. One reason for this could be due to a perception of impracticality of implementing a full-blown educational framework of heutagogy, according to the paper.
However, some universities have opted for its implementation which has resulted in positive outcomes.
The University of Western Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, is a good example of one institution which has implemented heutagogy in its teacher education program. The University redesigned its programs in order to integrate learner-directedness through blended learning.
Dr. Blaschke’s paper provides a solid basis for further discussion into heutagogy as a theory for higher education instructors guiding the use of new technologies in virtual and distance education.