The role of learner agency in Modern Learning Practice #mlpchat review

This year I have pushed the idea of learner agency in my classroom, and subsequently learner agency has become one of the key aspects that I consider when designing learning tasks. Core Education does a great job of explaining the concept of learner agency:

One way of thinking of learner agency is when learners have “the power to act”. Agency is when learning involves the activity and the initiative of the learner, more than the inputs that are transmitted to the learner from the teacher, from the curriculum, the resources and so forth. In the past our schools have catered mostly for groups of learners, for classes of kids, with a one size fits all approach. Arguably, many students felt disenfranchised in the midst of that, as they just had to sit and do what they were told. Lessons were delivered to students who were passive in the way that they received that. When learners move from being passive recipients to being much more active in the learning process, actively involved in the decisions about the learning, then they have greater agency.” (

Last week it was great to host a Twitter chat on learner agency, and those involved shared some valuable ideas. Below are the questions and some of the discussions from the chat:

Question 1: What does learner agency mean to you?


Question 2: Is learner agency integral to modern learning practice? Why/Why not?


Question 3: In what ways do you encourage learner agency in your classroom?


Question 4: Why do you think some students struggle to ‘own’ their learning?


Question 5: How does learner agency prepare students for the future?


Final Thoughts.

It was great to see so many educators valuing the idea of learner agency and hearing about the great things that are happening to promote learner agency in various classrooms. I personally came away from the chat thinking that I need to do more in terms of incorporating learner agency into assessment tasks. If implemented correctly, this could be a really powerful way of enhancing student learning.  Thanks to all those that participated in the #mlpchat. As a flow-on from leaner agency, the topic of the next chat will be: The role of self-directed learning in modern learning practice. This will take place on Wednesday the 2nd of December at 8pm (NZ time). This will also be the last chat for a while before the new school year starts in 2016. Will be great to see you all their again and hopefully some newbies! Questions for the chat are below:

Topic: The role of self-directed learning in modern learning practice.

Question 1: What does self-directed learning mean to you?

Question 2: What makes self-directed learning advantageous compared to traditional learning?

Question 3: What do teacher need to put in place to make self-directed learning successful?

Question 4: What are some barriers to creating a self-directed learning environment for your students?

Question 5: What do you do to promote self-directed learning?




References:,. ‘Trend 1: Learner Agency | CORE Education’. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.