Transformative learning is increasingly becoming the leading andragogy (adult teaching and learning) strategy in the current technologically competitive eLearning environment. So, how can eLearning developers and instruction designers adopt this trend within their courses? Is this trend only for the seasoned eLearning professionals or is it adaptable by any trainer wishing to produce in-house eLearning training programs. Find out in this article!
Transformative learning is by essence learning that leads to direct transfer of learning objectives to the work context of the learner. Is it possible to have this phenomenon applied to the thousands of learners registered in your eLearning course? When you provide a training program to diverse learners who are geographically dispersed around the globe, providing the transformative learning edge becomes a challenge. Sometimes even an impossible feat!
What is transformative learning and why should I care?
Before we answer the question, let us explain the benefits of an eLearning program that is transformative in nature.
If there is one justification an adult learner would give to themselves for allocating time from their busy lives to learn something new, it is this: what will this course do for me?
Will I gain something meaningful and valuable to my current tasks at work? Will this course make me perform better, make a change in my end product? Or help me gain team-wide recognition?
If the answer to all these questions is “yes”, the adult learner will not hesitate to register for your eLearning course – and won’t drop out. Also, line managers and team leaders are specifically looking for eLearning programs that yield productive value for the organization.
While it is nice to grow personally as a learner, growing professionally is more in demand than ever. Transformative learning provides this organization-specific professional growth. The features of transformative learning are only implemented when the course mentor, instructor or trainer is progressive and accepting on the transformative learning strategies.
When training your trainers, remind them that the success of the course will be impacted directly by their actions when mentoring the course. Inform them of the benefits of transformative learning and how they can promote it when leading their eLearning sessions.
How do I create transformative learning experiences in eLearning?
eLearning trainers need to create a self-reflection activity in which they think about their interactions with adult learners. Were there any unique problems in communication with the learner? How did the instructor solve them?
eLearning instructors need to understand that they cannot encourage their learners in a transformative process, if they are unwilling to do it themselves.
These ten questions should facilitate the self-reflection of the instructor and guide them towards transformative course implementation:
1. How do you view yourself as an instructor? Do you see yourself as an expert? Are you open to the views and opinions of others? How do you accept and/or process those views when you encounter them?
2. How much more do you feel you need to learn about teaching and learning, or about your current subject matter?
3. How do you generally run a class? Do you depend on the course materials and discussion methods or are you running your own agenda as well?
4. In the ILT (instructor-led training) discussion, do you empower the trainees to pursue knowledge on their own? Do you incorporate individualized, collaborative exercises during your course mentoring session?
5. How do discussions generally go in your eLearning courses? Are they usually dominated by a few participants? Are your discussions uniformly interactive?
6. How comfortable do you feel with the concept of promoting self-knowledge and experience in learners? Do you motivate learners to learn for the sake of learning and promote a culture of learning organization?
7. How comfortable are you when trainees disagree with your view point? How would you feel if a trainee suggested that you read material that they have discovered in their learning process?
8. Do you feel that you need to maintain control of the learning environment? How comfortable are you in giving over this control to learners and being equal participant?
9. How comfortable are you with receiving material from the students that is not grammatically correct or well-written, but is truly the expression of their self?
10. How do you define learning? What do you hope to see as learning outcomes from an eLearning course session?
You can make transformative eLearning
Transformative learning is not a special field of andragogy. Rather it talks about being mindful when addressing the needs of adult learners.
Transformative learning can only be implemented if the course mentor has a self-reflecting attitude towards the process. eLearning program designers can also use these ten points to reinforce transformative learning practices for the course mentor. The goal of any eLearning program is to create a learning experience that is transferable to the learner’s work life. The time spent on the training program should return as a valuable performance driver.
What do you do in your eLearning mentoring or development to create transformative learning for your trainees?