Appropriate pedagogies for the development of an online (distance education) clothing and textile product development module presented at NQF level 8 is paramount. The curriculum and the pedagogical perspective of students enrolled at Unisa are affected by student diversity; locality of students; separation from the institution, lecturing staff and fellow students. Cognisance should be taken regarding the proliferation of the internet, changing student profile and adoption of various teaching methods, which all have an impact on the learning process and should form the theoretical underpinning of a design of a course/module (Ertmer & Newby 2013).
Online communication allows for the acknowledgment of separation of space and time but creates an ongoing dialogue between the educator and the student. This approach to teaching encompasses both the traditional face-to-face and distance education mode of teaching, which manifests in a fully online module. The current role of the educator and student has changed into a shared responsibility of the generation and acquisition of knowledge (Palaiologos 2011). Some of the resulting learning methodologies that came to the fore are connectivism, paragogy and rhizomatic learning. Pedagogies that ensure students are active participants in the learning process are imperative, and thus the current module has been developed from a heutagogical perspective, fostering co-creation of knowledge (Chetty 2013).
The economic and social climate demands that students have the ability to adapt to changes in the real-world context. Self-directed learning is, therefore, crucial in forming a holistic approach to life-long learning, reiterating the importance of heutagogy. The module, Clothing and Textiles Product Development, is aimed at addressing important concepts including writing a business plan for a product line in Africa; developing and complete specifications for the product line in terms of product design; costing, quality specifications; production planning; distribution; critically evaluating a business plan in terms of relevance, feasibility and innovativeness from self-evaluations and peer evaluations. The contributions to the field of Consumer Sciences are therefore theoretical in terms of learning methodologies, but also practical in terms of student (self) employability.
Keywords: Heutagogy, open distance learning, consumer science, fashion product development, fashion design curriculum