Grounding the free learning model: Theoretical perspectives

Min YANG, Wing Sze Wincy LEE

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


While discussions of Free Learning have principally centred around its practice and implementation, it has yet to be properly anchored in the existing literature on curriculum structure and pedagogical design. The purpose of the current chapter is, therefore, to make the theoretical underpinning of Free Learning explicit, with the intention of fostering the further application of Free Learning in terms of higher generativity and greater precision. In this chapter, relevant theories, constructs and curriculum models will first be introduced with a view to explaining why and how the design of Free Learning works in promoting students’ learning. Curriculum design models include the central model (Richards, 2013) that focuses on developing students’ cognitive and metacognitive skills in pursuit of their own learning interests through student-centred pedagogies (e.g., inquiry-based and project-based learning), as well as the model of authentic curriculum (Braund & Reiss, 2006; Crawford, 2012) that stresses the relevance of learning resources and activities to students’ real-life experiences.
Relevant theories and psychological principles will be examined and discussed, such as the theory of heutagogy (Blaschke & Hase, 2019), the theory of self-regulated learning (Hew, Lan, Tang, Jia, & Lo, 2019; Zimmerman & Campillo, 2003) and the latest principles of learning from the strand of learning sciences (Windschitl, 2002). In closing the chapter, recommendations will be made as to how the Free Learning model may be optimised with reference to the theories and curriculum models that have been discussed. Copyright © 2022 selection and editorial matter, Ross Parker, David Coniam and Peter Falvey; individual chapters, the contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFree learning: A student-directed pedagogy in Asia and beyond
EditorsRoss PARKER, David CONIAM, Peter FALVEY
Place of PublicationOxon
ISBN (Electronic)9781003150695
ISBN (Print)9780367714017, 9780367714024
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


Yang, M., & Lee, W. S. W. (2021). Grounding the free learning model: Theoretical perspectives. In R. Parker, D. Coniam, & P. Falvey (Eds.), Free learning: A student-directed pedagogy in Asia and beyond (pp. 33-44). Oxon: Routledge.


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