Transformational Learning

Transformational Learning: Transformational Learning theory was originally developed by Jack Mezirow, and is described as being “constructivist, an orientation which holds that the way learners interpret and reinterpret their sense experience is central to making meaning and hence learning” (Mezirow, 1991). The College Outcomes Project has defined attributes of transformational learning as: 1) developmental (knowing and doing across a range of domains including intrapersonal, interpersonal, and moral); 2) holistic (deep engagement of the learner’s capacity for understanding, feeling, relating, and acting); 3) integrative (learning from multiple sources/settings, and the integration of experience, reflection, and action); 4) contextual (engaged with social contexts and the construction of shared meaning in collaboration with others). 


Evidence Base for Transformational Learning:

Articles and Websites
College Outcomes Project:
Concordia University-Centre for Teaching and Learning Services:
Hersh, Richard (2011). “A Well-Rounded Education for a Flat World.” Available at:…/CollegeOutcomesProject.doc
Draft paper for the College Outcomes Project that describes both cognitive and efficacy outcomes that lead to transformational learning.

League for Innovation in the Community College-Transformational Learning Connections:
Cranton, Patricia. (2006) Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning: A Guide for Educators of Adults, 2nd edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Cranton, Patricia. (1997) Transformative Learning in Action: Insights from Practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mezirow, Jack and Associates. (1990) Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood: a Guide to Transformative and Emancipatory Learning. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mezirow, Jack and E. W. Taylor. (2009) Transformative Learning in Practice: Insights from Community, Workplace, and Higher Education San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mezirow, Jack. (2000) Learning as Transformation: Critical Perspectives on a Theory in Progress. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Palmer, Parker J. et. al. (2010). The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal.
San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.