Transformative Learning

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Book Chapter

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Emancipatory Learning, Disorienting Dilemma, Perspective Transformation, Critical Reflection

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Given the broad spectrum of life experience as we reach adulthood, our learning histories, abilities and preferences are as varied as we are. Thus emerges the field of “adult learning.” In addition to these many variations of experiences, this field of education and human resource development also recognizes that there is the infinite multiplier of the many contexts within which adults live and work to further variegate their learning experiences. With such a perspective of human experience, a framework with which to understand and appreciate the differences, developments, and process of learning adults may experience can guide consideration and development of training, teaching, learning, and professional growth. Transformative learning offers one such guide as a prominent and open-ended theory of adult learning. This theory of learning is consistent with the stark realization that our world and work are changing more rapidly than that to which we can adjust. Transformative learning helps us as those interested in HRIS to better understand the process through which adults address new information and views that do not smoothly articulate with their current understanding. Dramatic transformations face organizational leaders and support staff and entire organizations frequently. They are clearly evident and recalled staff and leaders alike whether organizations are facing the introduction of a new vision, adapting to a changing organizational culture, coping with economic hardship, or being forced to re-examine their mission and purpose (Altman, 1998; Caudron, 2000; Waldersee, 1997). What is the impact of such shared experience? Are there common stages of experience? And how can human resource information specialists benefit from and use the perspective of transformative learning to support significant learning within our organizations? This chapter will briefly begin to answer to these questions by introducing transformative learning theory, the background research, and trends related to it. Based on many years of adult learning research and theory building across many contexts, transformative learning has only come to the field of human resources information systems recently.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Transformative Learning, in T. Torres-Coronas & M. Arias-Oliva (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Human Resources Information Systems: Challenges in e-HRM, IGI Global, p. 871-876