TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING APPROACH: A POTENTIAL MODEL FOR FUTURE LEADERS IN LEARNING PROCESS
The easy access to a continuous flow of information creates new needs, news expectations, and new expertises in the postgraduate learning processes.
The classical paradigm with the Faculty defining “what the learners need to learn and how this should be done”, and academic lectures by ‘authority figures’ as the core of a syllabus seems to be a bygone era.
The Transformative Learning (TL) process integrates questioning and revising ‘how learners develop expectations based on their reflections on knowledge and experience’. This includes their assumptions or interpretations of knowledge and experience, and their own awareness of specific needs to reach a new level of proficiency. The learning process can become transformative when it is self-initiated and based on a self-reflection on knowledge and experience, rather than on the interpretation or judgement of ‘authority figures’.
For the teachers, TL process involves a self-reflection on the assumptions and beliefs in the teaching-learning process, a change in their frames of reference and implementation of actions that bring about new ways of sharing knowledge and experience.
The health care professionals are overloaded with a flow of information, source of confusion or cognitive conflict. This progressively pushes them towards the paradigm of ‘self-directed lifelong learning’. The changes they want to make are driving them select the most appropriate learning trajectory to improve their proficiency.
This new paradigm requires a new education process – one that is built around the active involvement of learners who become actors of their learning. It needs to incorporate their experience and provide the opportunity to critically reflect on information.
This paradigm includes moving from the classical lecture based concept towards the concept of ‘community of learners’, united in a shared experience and trying to make their knowledge meaningful. This requires building a safe learning environment in which the dialogue is facilitated enabling all the members to share and learn from each other and foster ‘a collaborative critical learning’.
In this approach, to become an effective educator demand a self-criticism and an awareness of the problems and develop new perspectives to effectively manage the complexity of the new needs of learners and scaffold them to reach the outcomes they are expecting.
It is the role of professional development to scaffold the educators in critically reflecting on their habits of mind regarding the teaching process and guide them to develop alternative perspectives on teaching –learning practice. Its aim is to guide the future educators to stimulate the autonomous thinking and critical reflection of the learners, manage the dynamics that arise from a collaborative work by establishing an environment that builds trust and facilitates the development of respectful relationships among learners to construct collaborative learning contents.