Designing Innovative Courses with Self-Determined / Heutagogical Learning Pathway Mapping

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Expanding upon last’s year’s customizable pathways session, this innovation lab will look at how to design courses that allow learners to map and follow their own personalized learning pathway. Based on the dual-layer MOOC model (DALMOOC / HumanMOOC), this lab will look at current ideas and future directions as well.


Matt Crosslin, Ph.D. is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education, where he works with faculty to create student-centered, active learning-based courses. He is also part-time faculty at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, where he teaches Masters and Doctoral courses in Educational Technology and Instructional Design. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include learning pathways, sociocultural theory, learner agency, heutagogy, learning theory, and open educational practices. Prior to working at Orbis, he spent nearly 15 years at the University of Texas at Arlington as both a Learning Innovation Researcher and an Instructional Designer. He also blogs occasionally at EduGeek Journal, watches or reads a lot of SciFi and Fantasy, and occasionally paints or draws something.

Extended Abstract

Following the ideas discussed at last years’ Innovative Customizable Pathways / Dual-Layer MOOC Course Design session, this innovation lab will continue the conversation by examining methods for designing courses based on current pathways research. Customizable pathways design and dual-layer MOOCs have evolved into the idea of “self-determined learning pathway mapping.” Instead of focusing on the theory of how the course is designed, research has highlighted the need to decrease “design presence” while helping learners focus on creating their own custom pathway map. Learners will take the parts of the modalities and course content that they need for their specific sociocultural context, and mix those elements with their personal learning network to design their own learning pathway map.

Participants in this session will work collaboratively to transform current courses or design future courses with pathway mapping in mind. Since these concepts are newer/emerging to many, working in a group will help bring more ideas to the table for each participant. Group work will focus on transitioning from objectives to competencies, how to design assignment banks, how to lead learners in designing pathways, and how to use open rubrics to tie together assessment of diverse pathways.

At the conclusion of the session, participants will have the beginnings of an innovative course design that unleashes learner agency and self-determined learning (also known as heutagogy). This initial course design framework can be expanded into a full course and/or transferred to other courses as well. The take-away from this lab will be the initial steps along the path to realizing learner agency in a course.

This session will also look at the current and future research surrounding learning pathways. Participants will get to see how new technologies currently being developed – such as mapping software, ProSolo, and other options – will shape pathways mapping in the future. Additionally, we will also touch on how current tools such as WordPress and Storify can be used as DIY options for supporting learners as they move into self-determined learning.