Dr. Seuss, children’s writer and illustrator, wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Today, regardless of age, qualifications or experiences, many people want to learn things that aren’t directly related to their business, profession or job. This may be developing essential workplace skills, learning how to code, enrolling in culinary school, taking a year off to learn about new cultures or even learning at home. Whatever the path they choose, learning always opens new doors, helps them acquire new knowledge and develop a wider perspective about the world.
Transformative learning is a popular adult learning theory that’s focused on learning that changes a learner’s perspective, ideals and values.
The Transformative Learning Theory
What is transformative learning? The transformative learning theory is an adult learning theory developed in 1978 by Jack Mezirow. “Transformative learning develops autonomous thinking,” wrote Mezirow.
Every day we collect new experiences. People we meet teach us something about ourselves, professionals have a lot to learn from their work lives and students engaged in classroom learning are acclimatizing to a new, online-first learning experience.
A transformative learning classroom is a radical one. In this space, learners not only decode their past experiences based on their existing ideals but also welcome new perspectives to change the way they think. It challenges personalities and ideologies, leading to a fresher understanding of the world. One way to understand transformative education is the online-first learning journey.
Many students, and teachers, were initially reluctant about online study. However, the pandemic didn’t leave much of a choice. After almost a year, many students find online learning friendlier, more effective and even more affordable than classroom learning. Transformative education is rooted in the idea that new perspectives lead to the construction of new insights and knowledge. It’s not just past experiences that drive learning or a change in thought.
The Levels Of Transformational Learning
Transformative learning involves key steps and levels that take a student from a disorienting dilemma to building self-efficacy. When a student’s beliefs or ideas are shaken, that moment of clarity forces them to rethink things. This leads to self-reflection and assessment of their actions and thoughts. Assumptions are questioned, perspectives shifted. Students find themselves evaluating their choices and the way they approach their studies. All this forms the backdrop of effective planning to accommodate new learning.
Here’s an overview of the levels of transformational learning:
A disorienting dilemma can be anything that causes turbulence in someone’s thought-process. The most glaring example is how most organizations successfully transitioned to remote working. Personally, a learner may find a teacher’s method to be too unorthodox. Any experience that leads to a radicalization of thought generates new perspectives.
Self-Reflection And Assessment
A dilemma leads to self-reflection and critical assessment of a learner’s thoughts, beliefs and values. This is a moment of clarity because students find themselves questioning what they’ve always believed. They realize there are other perspectives besides their own.
Creating A New Plan
Self-reflection allows them to create an actionable plan to build on these newly-acquired beliefs and understanding. They may decide to change the way they study, or even take notes in class. They identify where they need work and redirect their learning. Learning new things is a direct outcome of transformational learning.
Exploration of New Roles
New learning requires effort on the part of the learner. Once they get the hang of all the information they’ve acquired, they have to work to understand and decode it. Experiencing things requires an effort to apply newly-developed insights. This also offers a changed perspective on how things were and are.
Self-Efficacy For Decision-Making
Students are able to build their own belief and value system based on what they’ve learned. Educators and facilitators can help with that. Transformative learning isn’t a one-time deal. Once students get into the habit of embracing new ways to learn, they can get used to the idea that this will happen time and again. That’s the one true goal of transformational learning.
Educators have a critical role to play in transformational learning theory. From adopting learner-centered teaching methods to using multimedia platforms like video, audio and images to teach, educators have a broad spectrum they can apply. They have to help students see things from different perspectives.
Harappa’s Inspiring Faculty Program
It’s not every day that we get a chance to learn something new. The act requires dedicated effort toward a particular goal. For an institution, the faculty is the pillar that holds it together. Guiding students on how to be their best selves is a noble cause. Harappa’s Inspiring Faculty Program is built on impactful learning outcomes that will enable your faculty to achieve transformative results. They’ll learn how to tackle challenges brought on by evolving classroom needs. With a set of must-have Thrive Skills, they’ll be ready to become mentors, coaches and confidantes. Enroll your faculty today to reap the benefits of our high-impact flagship program.
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