Heutagogy: Meet the Future Head on.

In the pre-education system era of learning, pedagogy was only one method of providing for learners.  Apprenticeships and, of course, necessity, often took another tack.  Apprentices and others learning crafts arts and practical skills were often left to their own devices and expected to create seeking guidance when it became necessary, but always goal oriented.


With an outcome in mind, the learner then essentially directed himself, observed, gathered the materials creating items that were as utilitarian as those of the master but with its own individual flavor.

This is certainly andragogical as it is self-directed within the framework of the craft and the learning.  While this provided active skill development, it was in the construct of an item intended to serve the master craftsman’s purpose.

Styling jewelry, crafting a set of candlesticks, assembling the workings of a clock, whatever the craft, the intern was the learner and the servant of the master craftsman. This is self-directed learning. Within the established framework of the particular craft, the learner recognizes the goals and expectations that the practice has established.  This, then is the curriculum and within that curriculum, the intern, under the master’s guidance, but with his or her own comfort level, sets out to achieve the ends of that curriculum. This style of learning reflects the term andragogy that basically means “man style learning” as opposed to pedagogy or child style learning.  Man, of course, in this context, referring to adults.

Heutagogy, self=directed learning, adds another dimension. A journeyman candlestick maker, while perfecting his craft, might feel that this was too limiting within the economic conditions of the times and decide to bring already gained skill to some new but related field. Whether this were creating clockworks, or a music box, a new set of skills beyond those already gained would be necessary.  The curriculum is then  determined by the individual who is the one that understands the goal and the new skills necessary to achieve it.

With the rapid rate of change in the world in both technology and the job environment, heutogogy is clearly more than just a fancy word.  It is an essential aspect of life-long learning.  The vehicle for this includes tablet technology (eg Ipad which is not exclusive to the market)  and although not everyone can yet afford such a device, just as television and more recently the mobile phone has pervaded most households across the world, the tablet technology will soon be there.

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