Engaging the Pedagogic Potential of WP Learner Autonomy in HE: A Case Study on the Design and Exploration of an Autonomous Learning Construct, and its Application to Practice.

Ladenika, Temitope (2021). Engaging the Pedagogic Potential of WP Learner Autonomy in HE: A Case Study on the Design and Exploration of an Autonomous Learning Construct, and its Application to Practice. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00012710

Abstract

This is a mixed-methods, affirmative postmodernist, pragmatic case study on how tutors recognise and engage learner autonomy in their teaching practices. The study involves the design and exploration of the Autonomy in Learning Construct (ALC) and an explanation of how it assists with operationalising learner autonomy on an HE programme. The pedagogic potential of learner autonomy is proposed as the degree of autonomy the learner brings to the teaching and learning relationship. The purpose of the ALC is to assist the tutor in engaging this potential in their day-to-day teaching practices. This study adopted Instructional Design Theory (IDT) for construct design, and the Framework for an Integrated Methodology (FraIM) for case study research design. Methods included survey, tutor task and semi-structured interview. It was found that the newly developed ALC could support tutor practices in engaging the proposed pedagogic potential of learner autonomy. This study inducts four degrees which provide a meta language and means of evaluation for learner autonomy. The study concludes that the ALC is a feasible means of engaging learner autonomy in day-to-day teaching practices. It constrains tutors to provide an active learning environment, and its evaluation aspect provides a means by which tutors recognise and evaluate degrees of learner autonomy. This study contributes to knowledge of learner autonomy through four new concepts including: The Autonomy in Learning Construct, the pedagogic potential of learner autonomy, heteronomous independence, and learner heteronomy. Four degrees of learner autonomy with their codes (A, AD H, HI) are a further contribution from this study, by which tutors evaluate learner autonomy. The study also contributes evidence to Benson’s (2013) second hypotheses that learners who lack autonomy, can develop it given appropriate conditions and preparations. Finally, this study contributes to current studies on the learner autonomy of students on widening participation programmes.

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