Transformative Learning in Higher Education

Dec 12, 2017 by

The transformative learning theory was developed in 1978, in a time where the world was starting to move a lot faster than it ever did before. This theory is used to change belief systems in order to adapt individuals to new situations. This transformative education concept is more necessary today than it ever was before, and it needs to be used for preventing problems not for finding solutions to them. As such, this learning concept can best serve its purpose in higher education, where young adults are trying to gain the skills and knowledge that will allow them to be a part of the society.


1. What does transformative education imply?


The theory suggests that this type of learning process has three dimensions. The psychological dimension is the first step, and it involves an understanding of one’s inner changes. The next dimension is the convictional one which implies a complete revision of one’s belief system. Lastly, in the behavioral dimension, the subject must deploy some lifestyle changes and create new behaviors that fit the new belief system.


2. How can this theory be applied in higher education?


Information is the main factor that drives change in the world. The internet has allowed us to share information easier and faster than ever before, which in turn is allowing our world to change faster. As such, it no longer makes sense for students to study a static educational programme that may no longer match the challenges of today’s world. Instead, students need to be encouraged to interact with the world, and come up with their own solutions for the challenges faced by the contemporary society. This can be achieved through praxis, the process through which one engages and applies the ideas that they are studying. A good university should encourage students to reflect on the challenges of the world, interact with the community and develop solutions for modern challenges. This can be achieved through research, conferences, symposia and networks. The focus must be not only on the information that is transmitted to the younger generations, but also on how that information is transmitted.


3. Transitioning from institutions to communities


Modern universities must step away from their cold institutional images, and build communities that encourage and inspire individuals to be creative and engaged. A university mustn’t be an intimidating entity, but a supportive community that allows for mystery as well as vulnerability. After all, one must first be vulnerable and unafraid of consequences if they ever hope to be strong and acknowledged.


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