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Innovative approaches to upgrade Higher Education System in 21st Century

In rapidly changing world of technology and economics it is imperative to identify gaps in existing
Teacher education system at higher level and to suggest ways to upgrade it. This paper deals with
use of innovative approaches such as Self-determined learning, cybergogy and andragogy to
upgrade higher education system. To meet the goal of the UNESCO International Commission on
adult learning for the 21sl century, there is a focus on the six pillars of lifelong learning: learning
to know, learning to do, learning to live, learning to be, learning to change, and learning for

Gaps Identified

With changing paradigm of higher education it is of utmost importance to make changes in it


Modern techniques

Active learning in Adults may be promoted through following ways:

Andragogy is the art and science of helping adults learn. Teaching can focus more on
training. Knowles (1970) infused andragogy with much of his own meaning garnered from his
already extensive experience in adult education. The basic difference between pedagogy and
andragogy is the shift from a disseminator of information to a mentor and guide requiring a
greater variety of methods and skills from the instructor. When traditional lectures and seminars
are used, they must provide practical exercises, often experimental in nature, discussions, role
plays, case studies, addressing specific industrial challenges.

Investment in adult education is not only beneficial to the individual but is beneficial to
society as well. It is important to create awareness during the initial undergraduate curriculum
that self-directed learning and continuous personal development is critical to success and
depends largely on the ability to learn independently.

UNESCO international report proclaims that teaching people how to independently

acquire knowledge, skills and abilities should be the main objective of traditional education.
Improvement in the interpersonal skills in an interdisciplinary environment is critical to
professional growth in most careers beside technical skills.
Rachal (2002) provided a solid empirical research base, by clearly identifying seven
criteria suitable for implementation in future empirical studies of andragogy: voluntary
participation, adult status, collaboratively determined objectives, performance-based
assessment of achievement, measuring satisfaction, appropriate adult learning
environment, and technical issues.

Isenberg (2007), provided a break-through framework and dynamic design for

bringing together the interaction of andragogy and Internet learning. To meet the goal of the
UNESCO International Commission on adult learning for the 21st century, she focused on the six
pillars of lifelong learning: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live, learning to be,
learning to change, and learning for sustainability.

Active learning using many of the tools from andragogy and project based learning could
be an attractive approach to capitalize their experience. Many andragogy tools have been
introduced into the chemistry course (Pavlova et al, 2016):

1. Seminar – lesson: it is a format in which students report to the group.

2. Lecture with errors: it is a format in which the students are given prior warning that the
lecture shall contain a certain amount of error: technical, methodology, and behavioural.
3. Hands-on practice and experimentation sessions: it is a peculiar form of connecting
theory and practice. The structure of the workshop is as follows: an introduction by the
teacher, questioning by the students, a practical part, and a final word of the teacher. There
are several variations in the practical part – abstracts, presentations, discussions, training
exercises, problem solving, observation and experimentation.
4. Brainstorming: it is a method for creative idea generation. The main objective of storming
is to help participants uncover the conscious and subconscious mind, stimulate the
imagination, think out of the box and get an unusual or original idea.
5. Business simulation: it is a form of a business game which involves a simulation model
of the process under study, work; presence roles.
6. Lecture-dialogue: it is a format when content of the lecture is given through a series of
questions to which the student must answer during the lecture.
7. Lecture-visualization: is a lecture enhanced by a display of slides, various images,
structural and logical schemes, synopses, diagrams and videos.
Peeragogy focuses on co-learning and co-creating. It is an open learning environment and
a new way of seeing and collaborative and learning. It increases accessibility to online networks;
enable the development of collaborative learning which in turn build skills and competencies
needed in a learning community. Peer learning and peer production are probably as old as
humanity itself, but they take on new importance in the digital age (Rheingold, 2014).

Collaborative or team based project have become popular in both secondary and higher education.
However, constructing effective evaluation tools is a challenge. A classical approach to
collaborative learning is cooperative learning approach. Unlike individual learning, which can be
competitive in nature, students learning cooperatively capitalize on one another’s resources and
skills. Successful cooperative learning tasks are described as intellectually demanding, creative,
open-ended, and involve higher order thinking tasks. In such tasks, individuals must know their
responsibilities and are accountable to the group in order to reach their goal. All members must be
involved and each member must have a task that they are responsible for, which cannot be
completed by any other group member.

A number of techniques for cooperative learning are available such as reciprocal teaching,
applying student pairing in which partners take turns reading, asking questions of each other,
receiving immediate feedback. In this process students use meta-cognitive techniques such as
clarifying, predicting and summarizing. Students may be placed in a small group of four or five
and graded in the team’s collaborate performance on tests.

Cybergogy encourages learner engagement in an online environment. The cybergogy

represents the synergy between the fundamentals of the andragogy and pedagogy, articulated with
the web paradigms. This new paradigm has highlighted the facilities provided by the virtual space
for the autonomous and collaborative learning. Cybergogy describes strategies for new learning
experiences, based on the person’s active engagement in the learning process, being a component
of the self-formative paradigm. The theoretic cybergogy model integrates the cognitive, emotional
and social processes of engaged online Learning.

In this new created context, the self-formative paradigm is strongly linked to the intensive
use of the virtual environment, in an informal and non-formal way. The learner could be involved
in self-formative processes aiming at finding solutions to various personal or professional
problems or improving his professional profile. The cognitive web resources cover a wide palette,
and various structured or unstructured presentation forms (wikis, virtual libraries, virtual
dictionaries, blogs etc.). In addition, the web space provides online self-training facilities,
integrating structured resources (online learning units, self-evaluation tests and links to other
related web resources) and providing a single access point for a specific topic. Using the web space
facilitates, virtual learning processes (e-Learning) could be designed, enabling an autonomous and
independent learning process in an informal way (Noor et al, 2012).

Heutagogy or Self-directed learning (SDL) encourages learners to become more self-

directed. It is the art and science of self-directed and self-determined learning and an outgrowth of
andragogy. SDL as a vehicle for personalized learning is a highly effective method, supported by
motivational theory, which takes into consideration important factors that impact the learning
process in adult learners. SDL is (a subset of personalized learning) can be one of the solutions
that support several key opportunities in higher education institutions targeting adult learners and
teachers. These include needing to (1) engage in continuous programme improvement; (2) consider
andragogical methods over pedagogy; (3) meet recent changes in accreditation standards that
require increasing experiential learning and assurance of learning; 4) better meet the needs of a
demographically and culturally diverse student body; 5) develop expansion initiatives to ensure
programs keep current with the shifting needs of employers and 6) engage with community
(alumni, donors, community and business leaders).

Integrated approach for Life-Long Learning of Quality Teachers

Integration of andragogy, heutagogy, cybergogy and peeragogy is the need of hour in

teacher education. These approaches should be utilized in moderation on the learners preference.
Therefore, the integration of such type of learning practices should be considered in classroom
learning as well as designing and developing an online learning application among under graduate

The self-formative paradigm becomes an important leveraging factor for self-

improvement, a major challenge of the actual knowledge society, representing a real catalyst for
the Life Long Learning. The valorisation of the andragogy and cybergogy paradigms could
improve the adults’ participation in the Life Long Learning processes.
The above points may be incorporated in current running courses like Orientation Courses,
Refresher Courses, Short-term Programmes, Faculty Induction and Faculty Development
Programme in content enrichment.


Table 1

Possible Strategies and Actions for Implementing an SDL Program

Strategy Action
Focus on  Establish a culture where instruction is ‘student-centred’. SDL is
improving teaching faculty facilitated, for maximum benefit to the student (as the
& learning for the student defines that benefit).
purpose of  SDL is identified, by the leadership, as a priority solution for
increasing societal preparing eligible adult learners to take their place in society and
readiness in the workplace.

Develop teachers  Recruit teachers who value student-centred instruction;

who support SDL  Encourage and support personal performance goals which include
participating/leading student-centred experiential projects;
 Establish Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and
Communities of Practice (CoP) specifically for the purpose of
discussing SDL: what defines an ‘SDL-eligible’ student? how do
SDL students learn? how do we assess and measure learning in
an SDL program? what needs to be changed in current teaching
methods to accommodate this type of learning? Explore what is
needed for a teacher to guide an SDL learner. (Grow, 1991);
 Consider ‘team teaching’ approaches (assign 3-5 core faculty per
SDL project) which invite diversity in teaching methods and
provide a richer student/teacher interface;
 Welcome and engage teacher coaches – trusted ‘experts’ who
enrich course content, ensure applicability to real-world situations
and have joint responsibility for the accountability of the student;
this could be a key role for alumni.
 Encourage on-going personal reflection and the self-testing of
assumptions and beliefs that could be blocking movements
 Provide teachers with additional pay, course release or equivalent
merit allocation for their participation in SDL courses.

Build infrastructure  Build trust and ensure that the conditions teachers need to
& technology improve SDL student outcomes are in place;
needed to support  Establish a variety of e-site, virtual and open source learning
an SDL program forums (myVLE, Moodle, Studifi, etc);
 Provide on-going training for staff who are uncomfortable with
new technologies or the means in which they are used;
 Create physical learning & study spaces (other than a
traditional classroom) where SDL students can gather, share,
discuss and assist one another.

Develop a  Develop intake criteria for SDL students using reliable

comprehensive measures of self-directedness (e.g. PRO-SDLS, Stockdale &
SDL program Brockett, 2011);
 Determine and set ambitious learning goals for SDL students;
 Set an andragogical framework for student-driven SDL
 Each SDL project must work directly with a business and/or
community partner, incorporating out-of-the-classroom
engagement and demonstrating applicability to real world
problems; this is another key role for alumni.
 Integrate a fully-blended rigorous learning experience which
includes attending selected classes, on-line learning, internship,
and both a written and oral ‘defense’ component;
 Leverage existing non-credit ‘co-curricular’ opportunities to
incorporate a credit component (e.g. student club and
community projects).
 Position SDL opportunities as capstone courses in the last year
of a multi-year program.
 Encourage graduate and PhD students to work with
undergraduate students on SDL courses

Reallocate  Engage and/or hire expert facilitators (alumni) to help. A

resources ‘multi-dimensional’ CoP needs to stay focused on improving
teaching and learning (through SDL programs) and not drift into
fulfillment of self-interest. (Pawlowski (2009); Pawlowski (2011);
Robinson, 2006).
 Re-assign internal advancement staff (development/fundraising,
marketing/communications, alumni relations, community
outreach) to search for ways to support the mechanisms needed
for SDL-focused programs.
 Consider the use ‘sports coaching’ techniques to motivate and
support SDL students.

Assess  Develop a detailed, specific rubric for SDL courses,

‘assessment’ and encompassing the 3 R’s of ‘effective instruction’ (rigor,
make data-based relevance and respectful relationship) – in both content and
decisions at instruction. (Wagner et al., 2006). Success in an SDL will be
specified times highly dependent on these 3 core competencies working
along a defined together;
 Ensure that there is consistency in the usage of the rubric
(meeting assurance of learning and accreditation identified
criteria), including timely and accurate collection of data.
 Measure progress regularly.
 Ensure 1:1 interaction that includes face-to-face (and not just
 Develop testing of reasoning and application of knowledge,
focusing on what students should be able to do once they complete
an SDL (that they wouldn’t have been able to do through
completion of a traditional course).

Develop  Establish clear lines of authority;

collaborative  Ensure alumni and community partners remain an integral
relationships with part of any learning networks –develop partnership agreements
alumni and key with external individuals/groups who wish to join the CoP and/or
community PLC;
partners  Establish clear communication channels for teachers to
communicate with partners, and partners to communicate with
both the SDL students and with each other;
 Work with the Alumni Office staff to identify, build, strengthen
and steward relationships and seek new interest;
 Work with Development Office and Career Centre staff to
identify funding and placement opportunities that provide a
defined return on investment for alumni and partners;
 Recognize, acknowledge and celebrate SDL partners