Hacking the Transformative Experience

Picture of Jeff King

Written by Jeff King, Ed.D. –

In Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work, Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal (2017) survey various fast-tracking methods to transformative experiences. It is little wonder in a fast-lane culture that humans, especially in a high-tech age, would seek tools and processes to shave off as much time and effort as possible along the way to the Great A-ha. . . .  read more

Lessons from Having a Research Assistant

Photo of Trinni Stevens and Laura Dumin

Written by Laura Dumin, Ph.D. – 

During winter break 2016-2017, I began a research project that I had been talking about for years—learning about women’s relationship with breastfeeding knowledge. I asked a local International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Ashley Barrett, for help and then I did what any novice researcher does, I dove right in without really knowing what to expect. I hoped that around 100 women would respond. Imagine my surprise when one day later I had over 1,000 responses. Within three weeks, we closed the survey with over 4,000 responses. I was flooded with a whirlwind of emotions, including crawling into a hole and pretending that I had never received this data. . . .  read more

Attending the Transformative Learning Conference as a First-Time Attendee

Picture of conference attendees at a coffee break

Picture of Therese Williams

Written by Therese Williams, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, UCO College of Business ISOM – 

As a first-year Assistant Professor at UCO, I received a wonderful opportunity to attend the 2018 Transformative Learning Conference in Oklahoma City.  In exchange for volunteering one day of the conference I was able to attend one day with the registration fee waived.  I worked at the registration desk for the first day on Thursday.  I believe that I enjoyed that as much as I did attending the conference on Friday!  I met wonderful people who volunteer their time to make sure that the conference runs smoothly.  I was able to meet and visit with many other attendees at times registration was not slammed with those picking up name tags and programs.  It was a great experience. . . .  read more

Launching Heroic Journeys of Transformation for Our Students and Ourselves

Picture of Jeff King

Wesch_YouTubeScreenshot10.12.2007You’ve heard of Michael Wesch. (Here’s a YouTube reminder from a decade ago; Wesch, 2007.) In an intensely reflective keynote presentation in the spring of 2017, he examined what he and Ken Bain (2004) both call “big questions.” Bain discusses the big questions a college class might help students answer that relate to the larger issues of the class. In Wesch’s keynote, his self-reflection on the big questions in his life leads to empathy made explicit for the student experience. . . .  read more

No More Millennials Entering College: How Can We Facilitate Gen Z Transformation?

Picture of Jeff King

These students don’t view the world in 50-minute, three-credit classes. If our mission is to prepare kids to be successful, the thing you have to prepare them for more than anything is adaptability. No one knows what the world is going to look like in the next 10 years. — Craig Chanoff, VP Education Services, Blackboard (as quoted in Kaplan, 2017, June, p. 32) . . .  read more

“Engaged, Participatory Rethinking” to Transform Our Classrooms and Higher Education

Picture of Jeff King

We do a poor job helping students translate the specific content or knowledge gained in our classrooms into a tool (informational, conceptual, methodological, epistemological or affective) that will help them thrive in life. If higher education doesn’t do that — if it isn’t geared to helping students succeed beyond the final exam and after graduation — then why bother? (Davidson, 2017a) . . .  read more

Student Engagement, Critical Reflection, Transformative Learning: What’s the Key?

Photograph of reflection in a sphere

Student engagement is a good thing. We’ve heard that for decades. Alexander Astin asked the question, “What matters in college?” then answered by saying a big percentage of what matters is student engagement (Astin, 1997). Pike & Kuh (2005, p. 186) agree in a summary statement about this issue, saying, “. . . students learn from what they do in college.” . . .  read more

Scaffolding Eats Coddling for Lunch

Picture of Jeff King

[W]hy would we expect students who have come of age in neighborhoods and schools surrounded by people who largely look and think as they do to be highly skilled at handling personal insults hurled by those with different, yet similarly narrowly shaped, experiences and beliefs? Why should we expect that people who have experienced different outcomes of a society still struggling with racial and class issues will magically know how to get along? Why would we expect students to arrive a[t] college skilled at civil discourse when their only understanding of political debate consists of well-compensated people on opposing sides shouting to drown one another out? (J. C. & C. K. Cavanaugh, 2017) . . .  read more

The Transformative Impact of Sustainability Pedagogy and Andragogy

Photo of kids celebrated Earth Day 2013 in a garden

Critical Transformative Learning goes beyond the personal toward community action, even societal transformation. Approaching sustainability education through transformative experience could have pragmatic impact on the learner, the community and the environment. (Singleton, 2015)

Education for Sustainability is “defined as a Transformative Learning process that equips students, teachers, and school systems with the new knowledge and ways of thinking we need to achieve economic prosperity and responsible citizenship while restoring the health of the living systems upon which our lives depend” (Mofid, 2016).

One example of Transformative Learning (TL) approaches in education to achieve sustainability is in management education, where Closs and Antonello (2011) propose that . . .  read more

Engaging or Ignoring the Disorienting Dilemma: Entitlement to Opinion?

Dr. Jeff King

Recently released results of a survey of K-12 teachers indicate that by a wide margin the factor most often reported as “very important” for student achievement is “student engagement and motivation” (Education Week Research Center, 2016, p. 15).

While the question in the survey related to students’ academic achievement, would your response as a college faculty member be the same, “Very important,” if the question were worded, “How important are student engagement and motivation for subsequent student transformative learning?” . . .  read more