Foster Module 4 Using scholarblogs to promote transformation from andragogy to heutragogy

Learning-Centered Assessment: After reading the provided resources on self-evaluated and self-directed heutagogical learning, describe your initial thoughts about designing an entire online/blended course or even just an assignment around these ideas/methods. Will you (or have you) consider these approaches? Why or why not? If so, briefly outline your idea(s). The resources that were provided to you were just a start. Feel free to research more to gain additional traction on these types of assessment.

Here is my thinking about this. I will first summarize a new term for me: heutagogical learning.

Andragogy is the educational theoretical underpinning of the self-directed learner; heutagogy is the educational underpinnings of the self-determined learner. The facilitator is still a mentor and tutor, but there is a difference: The facilitator surrenders the learning path to the learner, who determines what will be learned and how it will be learned. In heutagogy, there are two components, competence and capability. So, not only is the knowledge acquired, but also the learners develop confidence that that they will have the capability to identify and solve the discipline-specific problems they are learning about, but to apply them in multiple and unfamiliar settings. Competent learners have specific knowledge and skills. Capable learners can reproduce knowledge and skills in unfamiliar settings. This is what is needed in complex and changing work environments, such as nursing, which is changing so fast in a complex environment.


So there is a continuum, with pedagogy requiring the most structure and scaffolding, building to andragogy, to heutagogy, needing the least scaffolding of all.

So I am in the process of developing an online/blended course for graduate nurses who are seeking to become advanced practice nurses, specifically nurse-midwives. This is part of a post-master’s certificate in nurse-midwifery that we are endeavoring to develop within the School of Nursing at Emory.  As graduate students, I think that our students will be self-directed (-based on the current face-to-face cohort-). Yet as a group, they will not necessarily be self-determined, except for some of them. But perhaps the whole point is to seek to transform the self-directed ones to be more self-determined.

There is a delicate balance to maintain however. Students need to master certain core knowledge, skills, and attitudes to achieve the core competencies of midwifery education. They must pass a national certification exam at the end of their program in order to be eligible to practice as a nurse-midwife. I do think assignments can be crafted to encourage self-determined learning, as long as it has boundaries that require students to explore with the goal of the basic core competencies that they need to master. I think scholarblogs would be an excellent tool.

There is an interesting article I will add to diigo that discusses how blogs encourage self-directed learning as well as personal information management. How to encourage self-determined learning is based on facilitating a process where learners truly feel the   freedom to master the objectives in their own way. Here is the link  about blogging and self-directed learning (the transition to self-determined can be built with assignments asking them to think in more complex ways:

So students can be given boundaries. Make the objectives very clear what they need to master. But they can explore how to do this in a variety of ways and then need to write in Scholarblogs about what they are doing and how they might share it in other unfamiliar contexts. This would be an ongoing process throughout the course.

About Jenny Foster RN/MPH/CNM/PhD

I am a nurse-midwife and an anthropologist, and my passion is improving the health of women and their babies globally. I walk on the borders of different disciplines: nursing, midwifery, anthropology, public health. Much of the work I have done globally has been in Latin America or the Caribbean.

15 thoughts on “Foster Module 4 Using scholarblogs to promote transformation from andragogy to heutragogy

  1. Jenny,

    You recognize the fine balance to be maintained between the content of a course that simply must be mastered by all in a traditional exam and the more self-determined (or self-directed) learning encouraged in andragogy and heutagogy. Part of this is aided by your comment that the student must “master the objectives in their own way.” That is, the student must still reach particular outlined objectives, but their might be ways to set parameters that the students can explore within. Blogs would be a helpful application tool in this way. It has inspired me to consider this in my own setting in the humanities classroom. Blogs offer a helpful platform for students to apply concepts learned in class to any contemporary situation that they might be interested in. Thanks for the tip!


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