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In education, heutagogy is a term coined by Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon of Southern Cross University in Australia, and is also called self-determined learning. The basic tenet of the approach states that a learner should be at the centre of his or her own learning, and, hence, that 'learning' should not be seen as teacher- or curriculum-centric, but learner-centric. Since the theory was first launched in 2000 it has become accepted as a practical proposition with its approach being particularly suitable in e-learning environments. Recent (post-2010) research into brain plasticity indicates that the approach can be useful in increasing learning capability.[1]


Although the term arose in 2000, it relates to a phenomenon which has been prevalent for many years before this.

Swedish study circles[edit]

The first study circle was introduced in Sweden in 1902 as a temperance movement for a sober life among people and it quickly gained followers as well as spreading the study circle culture among the society.[2] It was created by Oscar Olsson, who is regarded as the "father of study circles".[3]

The idea of the study circle emerged from the lack of affordable higher education for working class children and families, it allowed people to learn from each other about a subject they had common interest in. It was a method also heavily based on democracy and the idea of "For the people, by the people" which became a universal slogan for education in the Scandinavian world.[3]

Homebrew Computer Club[edit]

Homebrew Computer Club Newsletter, September 1976

The Homebrew Computer Club (1975–1986) was a learning and sharing environment created by Fred Moore and Gordon French. It emerged from the Midpeninsula Free University based in Menlo Park. When the first MITS Altair microcomputer arrived at the People's Computer Company Moore and French wanted to organise a social space where people could get together to share experiences, learn from each other and making computers more accessible to the broader public.[4] Steve Wozniak, one of the participants described the theme of the club as "Give to help others."[5] He outlined how the event was organised in different periods:[5]

  • A mapping period where people in turn would contribute something about what they had been doing or what they were interested in
  • A random access period where people would wander around to see what was being demonstrated, trading surplus parts, networking or otherwise sharing information.

The Homebrew Computer Club provided an incubator for both high profile Silicon Valley corporations like Microsoft and Apple[6] while also facilitating the growth of not-for-profit initiatives primarily linked to the open-source movement.[7]


Hackathon Barcelona

Hackathons are a collaborative activity that emerged from the developers' community in 1999, in increasing use as a learning and sharing environment.[8] Collaborators participate in a time-limited learning and sharing environment, using Web resources and creating an innovative outcomes or achieving learning goals, with best results obtaining prizes and trophies [9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Samantha Chapnick & Jimm Meloy (2005). "From Andragogy to Heutagogy". Renaissance elearning: creating dramatic and unconventional learning experiences. Essential resources for training and HR professionals. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 36–37. ISBN 9780787971472. 
  2. ^ Sivert Gustafsson. "The system with study circles in Sweden" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Sturla Bjerkaker (2003). The Study Circle – a method for learning, a tool for democracy (PDF). FACE Annual Conference 2003. 
  4. ^ Markoff J. (2005) What the Dormouse Said (ISBN 0-670-03382-0)
  5. ^ a b Wozniak, Steve. "Hombrew and How the Apple Came to Be". Atariarchives.org. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "How the Homebrew Computer Club revolutionised computing". mid-day. Mid-Day Infomedia. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Weber, Steve (2009). The Success of Open Source. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 
  8. ^ "The History of Hackathons". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Hackathon As Learning Tool". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Stewart Hase & Chris Kenyon (December 2000). "From Andragogy to Heutagogy". ultiBASE. Faculty of Education Language and Community Services, RMIT University. 
  • Jane Eberle & Marcus Childress (2009). "Using Heutagogy to Address the Needs of Online Learners". In Patricia Rogers; Gary A. Berg; Judith V. Boettecher & Lorraine Justice. Encyclopedia of Distance Learning (2nd ed.). Idea Group Inc. ISBN 9781605661988. 
  • McAuliffe, M.; Hargreaves, D.; Winter, A.; G Chadwick, G., "Does pedagogy still rule?", Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, Vol 15 No 1, Institution of Engineers Australia, 2009
  • Hase, Stewart; Kenyon, Chris, "Heutagogy: A Child of Complexity Theory", Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, Volume 4 (2007), Number 1, pp. 111–118
  • Garnett, Fred. "What is heutagogy?"
  • Stewart Hase, "Community of practice"