Transformative Learning Theory – Is It Tıme to Add A Fourth Core Element?

Frances Maureen Schnepfleitner, Marco Paulo Ferreira

Abstract


The aim of this paper is to present a research-based analysis on the Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning, by first outlining the foundations of the theory and its status and trends, and then highlighting the role played on adult education by the core elements of transformative learning: critical reflection, dialogue, and individual experience. The concept of this essay is to present the current knowledge including substantive findings as well as theoretical and methodological contributions on Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning. This essay reviews the collective evidence of the theory of transformative learning, looking for similarities and differences on competing theories. The analysis shows that none of the core elements of transformative learning stand-alone, but each supports and enhances the rest, suggesting a more holistic approach to future research. While these elements must be present for transformative learning to occur, a new and lesser researched element - the context – is suggested. By developing awareness and appreciation of personal and sociocultural context, educators can better facilitate transformative learning situations within existing contextual constraints. The need to help learners actively participate and engage with the concepts presented in the context is the key message to be taken from Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning.


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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.51383/jesma.2021.9