Education 3.0 and the Pedagogy (Andragogy, Heutagogy) of Mobile Learning

The evolution of the web from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and now to Web 3.0 can be used a metaphor of how education should also be evolving, as a movement based on the evolution from Education 1.0 to Education 3.0.  I discussed this in Schools are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning and implementing Education 3.0.

Many educators are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning and implementing Education 3.0. This post compares the developments of the Internet-Web to those of education.  The Internet has become an integral thread of the tapestries of most societies throughout the globe.  The web influences people’s way of thinking, doing and being; and people influence the development and content of the web.  The Internet of today has become a huge picture window and portal into human perceptions, thinking, and behavior.  Logically, then, it would seem that schools would follow suit in mimicking what is happening via the Internet to assist children and youth to function, learn, work, and play in a healthy, interactive, and pro-social manner in their societies-at-large.

Most schools are still living within and functioning through an Education 1.0 model.  They are focusing on an essentialist-based curriculum with related ways of teaching and testing.

Similar to Web 2.0, Education 2.0 includes more interaction between the teacher and student; student to student; and student to content/expert.  Some educators have moved into a more connected, creative Education 2.0 through using cooperative learning, global learning projects, shared wikis, blogs and other social networking in the classroom.

Education 3.0 is a connectivist, heutagogical approach to teaching and learning.  The teachers, learners, networks, connections, media, resources, tools create a a unique entity that has the potential to meet individual learners’, educators’, and even societal needs.  Many resources for Education 3.0 are literally freely available for the taking.


Taking this one step further or from another angle, moving from Education 1.0 to Education 3.0 can be compared to moving from Pedagogy/Essentialism/Instructivism to Heutagogy/Constructivism/Connectivism.  This can be looked at as a continuum going from Pedagogy to Andragogy to Heutagogy (PAH).  The following graphic describes these three approaches to teaching. (I understand that educators may differ in the descriptions and definitions especially that of pedagogy).



This translates into moving from an education approach driven by essentialism or instructivism to one that is based on constructivism and connectivism.

Essentialism is defined as:

Essentialism tries to instill all students with the most essential or basic academic knowledge and skills and character development. In the essentialist system, students are required to master a set body of information and basic techniques for their grade level before they are promoted to the next higher grade.  Essentialists argue that classrooms should be teacher-oriented. The teachers or administrators decide what is most important for the students to learn with little regard to the student interests. The teachers also focus on achievement test scores as a means of evaluating progress.

Instructivism can be described as:

In the instructivist learning theory, knowledge exists independently of the learner, and is transferred to the student by the teacher. As a teacher-centered model, the instructivist view is exhibited by the dispensing of information to the student through the lecture format. This theory requires the student to passively accept information and knowledge as presented by the instructor.

These descriptions fit the characteristics of an Education 1.0 or a traditional pedagogical teaching framework.

The andragogical, more constructivist orientation takes on the characteristics of Education or Web 2.0 where the principles of active, experiential, authentic, relevant, socially-networked learning experiences are built into the class or course structure.

The heutagogical, connectivist orientation is closely aligned with Education 3.0.

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. The renewed interest in heutagogy is partially due to the ubiquitousness of Web 2.0, and the affordances provided by the technology. With its learner-centered design, Web 2.0 offers an environment that supports a heutagogical approach, most importantly by supporting development of learner-generated content and learner self-directedness in information discovery and in defining the learning path.

Even though heutagogy is usually defined and described for adult learners, given these times where we are living with open education resources and information abundance, learners as young as the elementary level have the potential to engage in educational experiences based on heutagogy.   In other words, they can engage in self-determined and self-driven learning where they are not only deciding the direction of their learning journey but they can also produce content that adds value and worth to the related content area or field of study.

Choosing the Teaching Orientation

It should not be as simple as stating that one, as an educator, uses one teaching orientation over another.  Educators need to examine what they are teaching and the population to whom they are teaching.  For example, procedural knowledge such as how to do first aid or fix a car; or a fixed body of knowledge such as human anatomy (for the medical field) or the study of law is typically best taught through a more teacher directed, “pedagogical” style. It becomes teaching with intentionality and strategically using the teaching and learning philosophies and approaches to reach desired outcomes.

Applications to Mobile Learning

The Pedagogy of Mobile Learning

With the idea that pedagogy is in line with a instructivist-essentialism method of teaching-learning, mobile learning in this category typically falls into the dissemination of content knowledge via apps.  [In my opinion, there are way too many apps developed for education fall into this category, with start-ups trying to take advantage of the use of iDevices in educational settings.]  Their goal is to directly teach students content knowledge or a skill whereby they can repeat and/or be tested on the content provided to them through interacting with the apps.  I have classified these apps as worksheets on steroids.  Typical examples include flash card types of apps like Netter’s Musculoskeletal Flash Cards. The U.S. Constitution – Flash Card Trivia, and Math Drills. I use a simple criteria to determine their efficacy, “Would the learner choose to use the app if given the choice or use it during his/her free time?”

As stated above, though, there are cases in which a body of knowledge needs to be learned by the students.  Some more engaging, interactive apps are available (and probably more interesting) to the learner.  Examples include:  Solar Walk™ – 3D Solar System model, Frog Dissection, and highly interactive eBooks.

The Andragogy of Mobile Learning

Again, although Andragogy has been described for teaching adult learning, we can extract his basic principles and apply them to the Andragogy of Mobile Learning for most age groups. Many project-based learning characteristics (authentic, real world problems; networked learning; use of collaborative digital tools) would fit under the category of the andragogy of mobile learning. Here are some resources and examples:

  • Project Based Learning In Hand
  • 15 Tools For Better Project-Based Learning
  • Mobilizing Creativity: Celllphones for Project-Based Learning

The following presentation demonstrates project-based learning with mobile devices in a High School Science class.

The Heutagogy of Mobile Learning

Creating a heutagogical-based mobile learning environment is in line with some of the recommendations from the ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2011 report:

Use technology in more transformative ways, such as participatory and collaborative interactions and for higher-level teaching and learning that is engaging and relevant to students’ lives and future plans. Use technology more to extend learning beyond the classroom.

The learners in a heutagogy of mobile learning environment:

  • Determine what they want to learn and develop their own learning objectives for their learning, based on a broad range of desired course outcomes.
  • Use their own mobile learning devices and technologies to decide how they will learn.
  • Form their own learning communities possibly using social networking tools suggested and/or set up by the educator.  Possible networks, many with corresponding apps, include: Facebook, Twitter, Edmodo, Instagram, Blogging sites, Youtube, etc.
  • Utilize the expertise of the educator and other members of their learning communities to suggest and introduce content-related resources.
  • Utilize the expertise of the educator and other members of their learning communities to suggest Web 2.0 and other online tools for that the students could possibly use to demonstrate and produce learning artifacts.
  • Demonstrate their learning through methods and means that work best for them.  It could include using their mobile devices to Blog, create Photo Essays, do Screencasts, make Videos or Podcasts, draw, sing, dance, etc.
  • Take the initiative to seek feedback from the instructor and their peers.  It is their choice to utilize that feedback or not.

Some general learning activities that have the potential to be introduced by the education using a heutagogical approach include:

  • Forming their Own Interest-Driven Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)
  • Curating Online Resources
  • Designing Apps or Games
  • Developing a broad array of possible course assignments from which a learner can choose.  See the DS106 Assignment Bank as an example.
  • Additional suggestions can be found in 20 strategies for learner interactions in mobile #MOOC.