Shifting from Pedagogy to Heutogagy in Education

Listen to What the Learner Has to Say – The Transformation from Pedagogy to Heutagogy

Walk into a traditional school and you will hear words like pedagogy, curriculum, learning objectives, syllabus, subjects, marks, grades, and many others. However, these words have become a thing of the past. We are now into the 21st Century where we are experiencing the shift from pedagogy to heutagogy. Wondering what heutagogy is? Let us first learn about pedagogy, andragogy, and heutagogy.

What is pedagogy?

  • Pedagogy, also known as children"s learning, is the process in which the learner is dependent on the teacher for knowledge.

  • The teacher and school determines when, where, and how something is to be learned.

  • Children are made to follow the instructions, do homework, be attentive in class, and score high marks in the examination.

  • The teachers in pedagogy are quite strict and punish the students for not following their instructions.

  • The learner has access to limited resources.

  • The knowledge from the teacher is transferred into the head of the learners using various techniques such as memorization.

  • The motivation comes from external sources such as teachers and parents.

  • There is fierce competition between students for marks and ranks in the examination. 

What is andragogy?

  • Andragogy, also known as adult learning, refers to the methods, activities, and theories used to teach adult learners.

  • Adults learn from their own experience, and from others too.

  • In andragogy, the learning is focused on solving a task or a problem.

  • Adults learn when they have the desire to perform well and excel in something. 

  • The motivation comes from internal sources like recognition, curiosity, confidence, self-esteem, etc.

What is heutagogy?

Heutagogy definition

  • Heutagogy is the method of learning in which students learn things on their own according to their interests.

  • In heutagogy, it is self-determined learning, which means the learners control and manage their own learning.

  • The teachers and facilitators provide some learning resources, but the path of learning is decided by the learners.

  • Learners are proactive and go beyond the traditional problem-solving approach.

  • Creativity and self-efficacy are the reasons that motivate children to learn by exploring novel things based on their interests.

Humanism and Constructivism are two key concepts that support heutagogy.

Humanism believes that learning is a personal act and focuses on freedom, dignity, and the potential of human beings. It involves understanding human behaviour.

Constructivism is a knowledge theory that involves generating knowledge from one"s own prior knowledge and the experience of others.

Holding on to pedagogy even in the 21st Century

Most schools still use pedagogy as the basis for learning and education. The reason behind this is that our traditional system still believes in it. Giving freedom to children has been opposed by many because of the fear that if children are given freedom they will misuse it to do a lot of wrong things than right ones.

Freedom is the essence and a key ingredient to learning. There are several unhappy and frustrated learners who frequently question the existing curriculum and the learning system where students still learn concepts which may not be useful in their day-to-day life.

Giving the freedom to learn to learners will lead to a high motivational level, less frustration and retaliation. Most learners don"t like rote learning and memorization that forms the basis of the pedagogy learning model.

The Gen Z learners are not happy with pedagogy. They feel like they are studying without a purpose. For making the learners truly happy along with the teachers, the new approach of heutagogy needs to be implemented as soon as possible.

Welcoming heutagogy – No better time to do it right now

  • Although the word "Heutagogy" may sound complex to many, in reality, it is based on common sense.

  • It works on the principle that the learners work best when they are doing what they love.

  • A learning system based on heutagogy enables the learners to develop their innate interests even more.

  • They are given an environment where they can pursue learning with a lot of enthusiasm, self-motivation, and passion.

Benefits of heutagogy

  • Fosters effective collaboration with other learners

  • Replaces traditional teaching with coaching

  • Makes the learners more capable

  • Allows the learners to handle and come out of complexities

  • Provides the learners more control over learning (self-determined learning)

  • Increases engagement and motivation in learners

  • Learners are able to acclimatize to the new environments better and much faster

  • Learners get to voice their opinions and come up with new ideas freely.


In todays fast paced and tech-savvy world, it is difficult to keep the learners quiet inside the classroom for nearly an hour. Today"s Gen Z learners are curious to ask questions. With the rapidly evolving nature of the industry, it is important to adopt heutagogy to cater to the needs of the learners in today"s world. The heutagogy learning model will make education relevant for the learners.