TRANSFORMATIONAL AND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
Transformational learning can be defined as learning that induces more impact in the learner than other kinds of knowledge; this especially entails learning experiences that shape the student and produce a significant impact that ultimately affects their subsequent experiences. The theory of transformational learning takes three-dimensional perspectives; Psychological, behavioral, and conviction. It focuses on the expansion of consciousness via the transformation of individual’s world view (Manorom, 2006). Learner’s experience provides a basis for which critical reflection relating to one’s beliefs, assumptions, judgments, plans are interrogated and interpreted.
Rational discourse can be seen as a catalyst for transformation, as it induces the learners to explore the depth as well as the meaning of their various world-views, and articulate those ideas to their instructor and those whom they study together. The instructor enables transformative learning between him/herself with the learners through. Creation of a safe environment for learning. The students must feel safe and free to take learning risks. Such risks may manifest through the students willingness in postulating theories, in offering solutions to problems, in sharing about both the content and their learning of the content with each other. It also means that the venue of study should be free from unnecessary communications that are likely to make a student refrain from answering due to the fear of being wrong or being belittled. Thus, the instructor should not allow such communications from other learners. Treating the whole class as a community. The class should be like people who are not only embarked on a tedious journey but who also help each other reach the place they’d rather be. A well-managed and designed group work is something which helps accomplish this correctly.
The instructor should be part of the community of learners. The instructor should seek and use formative feedback from the pupils about their mode of teaching. A teacher’s sincere desire to help students learn perhaps is a most potent means of creating a transformative learning environment. The instructor should communicate such a message powerfully while regularly checking in with students about what’s working for them as learners and what is not, and then try to make adjustments as possible in response to insightful suggestions being advanced by the learners. Self-disclose. One powerful tool for building immediacy and closeness with the pupils is achieved through the instructor’s ability to disclose some facts concerning his/her self-doubts along the path of learning.
Genuine efforts and comments that are not presented as self-aggrandizement by the instructor serve to put the minds of the students’ at ease, thus, increases their ability to learn the material. Experiential learning can be defined as the learning process that supports the application of knowledge and conceptual understanding among students to real-world problems; that is, reflection on doing (Kolb, 1984). It is a cyclical process that capitalizes on the experience of the participant for knowledge acquisition. The process involves observations, setting goals, planning, and review which aids learners in constructing meaning to themselves. This theory of learning has met a lot of criticism about it effectiveness and its worth. One of them is that the concrete experience part of the learning cycle is not adequately explained, and thus, not exportable. Another criticism is that the idea of immediate and practical experience is problematic and not realistic which exposes its weaknesses. This theory looks more like it was not well defined and makes it open to various interpretations. It sounds like it is an eclectic blend of ideas from different sources and theories.
The theory does not explain how a social group may gain knowledge from just one field of experience. Some other critiques opine that experiential learning may not help one to understand new experiences as well as explain changes. This mode may cause some dogmatic thinking of the learner and may cause mental laziness(Manorom,2006). This critique is not valid because the approach helps to transfer thoughts from the instructor back to the learner.
Experience is emphasized in this method of approach. One of the strategies to facilitate this mode of learning is by using the collaborative method of teaching. This involves active learning where students do some practical apart from just a mere listening. The tutor might ask multiple choice question to engage the whole class. The students can also be grouped into small groups to accomplish a common goal. Engaging them in discussion deepens their learning and confidence.
Though there is no accurate interpretation concerning the applicability of the theory, there exist a strategy that fosters the application of the theory. This approach requires instructors to select experiences that suit the situation at hand, posing problems through setting boundaries and supporting learners in the learning process, recognizing opportunities available for learning and finally helping the students understand the relationships between various contextual situations. Such strategies can be seen in internships and service learning where learners understand and reflect through experiencing the act first-hand.