Education 3.0 underpinned with the heutagogical approach for a smooth shift to distance learning in higher education
As the shift to distance learning was abrupt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, neither university students nor instructors were fully prepared. There was a real demand, therefore, for adopting principles that belong to Education 3.0 in higher education institutions as this pandemic might not be the last. This study aimed at evaluating to what extent the principles of Education 3.0 based on the heutagogical approach could be applied at universities. To achieve this target, a mixed approach was followed by utilizing two instruments; a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. A total of (200) students and (10) instructors from Birzeit University (BZU) were the participants. Data that emerged from the questionnaire were statistically analyzed, whereas the interviewees’ responses were qualitatively content-analyzed and grouped into main themes. The findings revealed that some principles of Education 3.0 have not been fully applied yet at BZU, such as supporting the learners’ self-determination; the individualization of teaching methods and strategies; blending synchronous online teaching mode with the face-to-face; empowering and coaching students to build personal learning environments with using multiple tools of authentic and real-life evaluations. Accordingly, it was recommended that universities worldwide as well as other higher education institutions should adopt the principles of Education 3.0 to make the shift to distance learning smooth for both students and instructors, especially by using flexible curricula and open learning resources; empowering students to determine their needs, objectives and personal learning environments; individualizing the teaching methods; and avoiding “One-size fits all” strategies.