“Learning Nomad” in Higher Education: Students’ Learning Patterns from Three Self-Designed Major Programs in Taiwan

  •  P.-C. Lin    
  •  S.-Y. Chen    
  •  H.-Y. Kuo    
  •  F.-R. Lin    


As higher education struggles to catch up with the constantly shifting social climate, many modern students are being left overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices they are being offered in a phenomenon known as the “tyranny of freedom”. This issue is exacerbated when they do not have the appropriate guidance from either their parents or universities to build their own identity and find a suitable position in a functional society. Following the innovative education trend, a few top-ranking universities have started self-designed major programs, making themselves pioneers of experimental education in the traditional university system. The purpose of this study aims at discovering how Taiwanese self-designed major students organize their study maps from human and identity capital perspectives.

Fifteen research participants were recruited from the three universities providing self-designed major bachelor programs and asked to participate in a semi-structured interview. The content analysis result outlines those students as “learning nomads” who break department or field boundaries to do interdisciplinary learning with clear goals by tracing their learning resources across borders. Three crucial outcomes have been found: first, identity capital mainly influences college entrance channel choices in regards to motivation and has a minor influence on how self-designed major students arrange their learning maps. Second, in regards to human capital, modularized and self-directed learning and the arrangement of theoretical and experiential knowledge do not work alone but together. Finally, learning guidance was found to be essential under the stress of tyranny of freedom.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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