As a student in Athabasca University’s Doctor of Education program, I have been challenged to reflect on myself as a future leader in education. This has led me to questions regarding the role of students in education leadership, within the context of global shifts that both encourage and require collaboration and lifelong learning, in which the influences of technology and globalization prominently figure (Becker et al., 2018; Betts, 2017; Buckreus & Ally, 2019; Chang, Shanahan, & Hsu, 2014; Harari, 2018; Roll & Wylie, 2016). The meaning of student has been reconceptualized as learner, embodying an autonomy that is fundamentally changing pedagogical roles and processes, and the nature of educational institutions (Becker et al., 2018; Betts, 2017; Buckreus & Ally, 2019; Chang et al., 2014; Roll & Wylie, 2016). Learner leadership is a core imperative.
In this paper, I consider two dimensions of learner leadership: 1) The role of learners in shaping education agendas at meso-levels, and 2) The role of learners in shaping micro-level learning environments (Bozkurt et al., 2015; Jansen, Moosa, Niekerk, & Muller, 2014; Prinsloo, Slade, & Khalil, 2018; Zawacki-Richter, Backer, & Vogt, 2009). These dimensions embed democratic leadership and consensus leadership, respectively, situating learner leadership as a participative leadership approach (Amanchukwu, Stanley, & Ololube, 2015; Dong et al., 2018; Elwyn et al., 2017; Jansen et al., 2014; Ureña, Chiclana, Melançon, & Herrera-Viedma, 2019). I consider examples of my experiences of learner leadership, and a growing perception of a call- to-duty for my future as a leader in education and research.