Interrogating learner-centredness as a vehicle for meaning emerging in practice and researching personal pedagogies: Transformative learning, self-efficacy and social presence at two Australian universities


Learner-centredness is a key element of the contemporary dominant discourse pertaining to pedagogies and learning. Yet enacting learner-centredness is far from easy in the increasingly massified higher education system. The authors contend that it is in the intersection between this philosophy and practice that meaning emerges and personal pedagogies can be researched.

This paper deploys the authors' experiences as higher educators covering a diversity of disciplines, encompassing pre-undergraduate, undergraduate and postgraduate domestic and international students and including face-to-face, distance and online delivery modes in two Australian universities. Learner-centredness is interrogated in relation to three key sites:

  • Exploring transformative learning with previously educationally marginalised pre-undergraduate students in face-to-face and external modes
  • Enhancing self-efficacy with face-to-face undergraduate teacher education students in relation to their mathematical competence
  • Experiencing social presence with online postgraduate students learning about educational research methods and ethics.

The paper reports examples from each site where learner-centredness is successfully engaged and hence where the meaning emerging in practice is fulfilling and productive. At the same time, interpersonal and structural factors sometimes obstruct the attainment of such positive outcomes. These findings have important implications for the authors' ongoing research into their personal pedagogies as well as for policy and practice in contemporary higher education more broadly.


Patrick Alan Danaher
Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD

Geoff Danaher
Division of Teaching and Learning Services, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton QLD

Beverley Moriarty
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education, Central Queensland University, Australia


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transformative learning; learner-centredness; higher education; university learning


PP: 004 - 013

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