Scaling Transformative Learning Using eLearning
The connections between transformative learning and elearning are rich and create an environment prime for innovation and learning excellence. eLearning is a broad term used to describe the use of technology to empower and support learning experiences.
eLearning strategies can provide unparalleled access to transformative learning experiences through the use of technology. While access and scale are important factors in today’s educational environments, the quality and value of learning experiences should be a primary driver for innovation. Even still, there are practical needs to scale transformative learning opportunities across organizations and elearning offers one mechanism to engage individuals and large groups of people in transformative learning experiences.
In this article, I outline several high-level strategies educators can use to design transformative learning experiences while leveraging the delivery benefits of elearning to enhance scale and diversity of learning experiences.
Empowering Reflection and Self-Awareness
A cornerstone of transformative learning is reflection and self-awareness that is needed to develop a new self-actualization. This process goes beyond simple knowledge acquisition or skill training, but is instead defined by the change of one’s self-perspective or worldviews. eLearning provides a way of support this reflective process by providing a space for idea cultivation and self-connections. This may be as simple as using a digital note to record an idea or growing a digital portfolio over an extended period of time. These digital data points provide a collection of anchors for future learning.
Creating Connected Communities
One of the major contributions elearning offers the field of transformative learning is the ability to connect people with few limitations on geography or time. eLearning can empower connections within courses and programs; however, the greatest value for transformative learning is the ability to connect people in contextualized ways. This supports a community of practice approach where learners create a community focused on advancing collective learning.
Supporting Applied Learning Experiences
Related to connecting communities, transformative learning is inherently related to empowering applied learning experiences where learners actively engage in experiences that are embedded in “real-world” situations. eLearning provides a unique opportunity to provide scaffolds and support for helping learners relate what they are learning from a conceptual level, to pragmatic and applied situations. For example, elearning can provide information through the use of videos, online guides, and resources at the “moment of need” when a learner is using a new skill or knowledge. This encourages application and enhanced relevance for the learner.
Technology is a defining component of today’s education and learning environments. While technology may be ubiquitous, this by default, does not empower meaningful and valuable learning experiences. As educators seek to grow transformative learning opportunities for students, we should consider elearning as a catalyst and scaffold that can help learners move beyond surface learning, to more deep and integrated learning experiences.