Transformational learning : a deep description of an emancipatory experience Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5h73pz26q

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  • This ethnography describes a learning context where transformational learning routinely creates an emancipatory experience. It identifies those elements that increase understanding of transformative process-describing how the context that contains and supports this learning is constructed and a perspective transformation is sparked by group synergy. It names three transformational learning outcomes: greater self-awareness, ownership, and deeper relationships. By identifying the elements that shape a transformational experience, the study uncovers the power to invigorate learning in a well-designed personal growth seminar. The findings are: (1) Transformational learning inspires a significant emancipatory perspective shift, opens an array of expanded choices, and supports learners' increased freedom of movement; (2) A set of characteristics distinguish transformational learning from other adult learning: A high level of interpersonal trust is established early between learners and with facilitators; Learners are held in positive regard-facilitators see learners' potential as unbounded; Learners actively create cleaning and their full attention is engaged in meaning-making processes; Their comfort zones are stretched-they are challenged and sometimes uncomfortable with the content, learning activities, and group process; Many feelings are elicited and disclosed in the seminars; Non-cognitive awareness is encouraged and validated. The following terms emerge from this study to form a language describing transformational learning: trust, positive regard, fully present, holding vessel, aliveness/deep awareness, anchoring, and source. (3) Transformational learning depends upon the creation of a rich context of facilitation, structure, content, and learning activities. (4) Synergy supports the perspective shift essential to transformational learning through heightened attention and focus, group process, and relationship building. (5) Accepting and acting from ownership marks transformational learning, providing evidence of a perspective shift. (6) Reflection, feedback, and systemic, self-assessment contribute to integration of new behavior. (7) Transformational learning is about content as process and has application in many disciplines. The characteristics and elements of transformational learning found in these seminars are transferable to other learning contexts, though implementation in a public post-secondary institution of higher education will require faculty preparation. The study closes with recommendations for public institutions of higher learning wanting to incorporate more transformational learning opportunities.
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