What is Agentic Learning?
Agentic: An individual’s power to control their goals, actions and destiny.
Agentic stems from the word “agency.” Webster’s Dictionary defines agency as the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power. In the late 1980s, Stanford University Psychologist Albert Bandura began developing a theory of social cognition that he associated with self-efficacy. He later examined more specifically the role of agency and motivation, and coined the term Agentic, in which people are viewed as self-organizing, proactive, self-reflecting and self-regulated.
Student Agency: What do we mean when we talk about student agency? After all, if agency has to do with an individual’s ability to exert power, it is possible to consider actions such as dropping out of school or checking out as agentic. We have a more narrow definition: Students have agency when they, of their own volition, improve their learning, their learning environment, or themselves.
There are two key elements here. The motivation to act which we address using the robust body of research found in Self-Determination Theory, and the skills to act which we find in the body of research surrounding Self-Regulated Learning. Of these, the shift to more powerful motivation is the more challenging and requires a positive change in school culture for teachers and students alike.
Agentic Learning Environment: An environment that fosters high quality motivation and supports the learners goals with effective pedagogy.