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They are also learning new ideologies that transform their perspectives and broaden their viewpoints to gain a greater sense of understanding and awareness of the values of their jobs and how they subsequently change them as people -- which is the very essence of transformative learning.
The proclivity for those who are in increasingly higher levels of education, particularly those in graduate school as opposed to undergraduate school to demonstrate more of the effects of transformative learning than their counterparts in lower levels of education is evinced within "Development of a Questionnaire to Measure the Level of Reflective Thinking," which was composed by David Kember et al. This study is of particular interest to the literature review conducted within this paper because it was qualitative and, as such, yielded little room for ambiguities. The authors used many of the theories propagated by Mezirow regarding transformational learning to devise a questionnaire that measured four specific constructs that were considered indicators of transformative learning -- understanding, habitual action, reflection and critical reflection. The distinction between reflection and critical reflection was such that the latter was deemed as akin to "premise reflection," which "requires a critical review of presuppositions from conscious and unconscious prior learning and their consequences" (Kember et al., 2000, p. 385), whereas reflection is merely contemplation of what immediate aspects of learning one has recently been taught.
Students were issued these questionnaires after the recent completion of courses that attempted to utilize various aspects of transformative learning in their pedagogy. As previously mentioned, the courses for the students were not the same, as some were graduate and others were for undergraduate students. However, all of the students who participated in the questionnaires were engaged in health science classes. A brief review of the empirical evidence is in alignment with the results of the previous studies detailed in this document, as well as with the thesis. Graduate students scored higher on the questionnaire in three of the four constructs, including in understanding, reflection and critical reflection. Graduate students had a mean score of 17.0 in both areas of understanding and reflection, whereas undergraduate students had mean scores of 15.7 and 15.0, respectively. In critical reflection, graduate students scored a mean of 13.89 versus 12.5 for undergraduate students (Kember et al., 2000, p. 392).
What is critical about this data, however, is the fact that of the 303 students given the questionnaire, only 38 were graduate students. What is also significant about this fact is that most of the graduate students had a substantial amount of experience in the work world and were taking classes in conjunction with working in either a fulltime or a part time capacity. Therefore, these students had more of an opportunity to reflect upon the concepts they were learning in class in relation to their careers and the experience afforded by them. It is important to remember that transformative learning theory is designed for adults, so that it is not surprising that more adult-like students would evince more of the facets of effecting change than the graduate students -- who were generally in school straight from high school or perhaps had taken a year or two off beforehand. Still it is important to note that in the construct of habitual action, undergraduate students scored a mean of 10.8 versus that of 8.7 for graduate students. The implications of this result, of course, are fairly straightforward. In terms of actually changing one's habits, the years of experience that helped graduate students to reflect and understand actually work against them, since they have more years of enforcing habits than their undergraduate counterparts.
A plethora of empirical evidence denotes that transformational learning has a multitude of values for students. It not only allows them to fulfill their temporary goals of excelling in school in order to earn a position in which they can have a lasting career of monetary value such as those found within the healthcare industry and other potentially lucrative industries, but it also helps them to understand the certain ideals and attitudes that people engaged in specific professions are supposed to have. The former of these points was repeatedly demonstrated in the literature reviewed within this document by the fact that students who were in more advanced stages of postsecondary education regularly demonstrated more of an aptitude for reflecting the values and changes in perspective that transformative learning is known to impart. The latter of these points is evinced most eminently in Lane's document, in which the method of transformative learning not only helped women from disparate professions become successful handicraft workers, but it also helped them to contextualize and further understand the dynamic change in economics that had taken place within their native country of Ukraine. In this instance, the pronounced difference in attitude and perspective that transformative learning is known for was particularly transcendent and helped its learners to actually change their actions and adopt to a new world. The utilization of empirical evidence in this document, and those of the other research articles used in this paper, prove the merit of transformative learning in a multitude of applications that are both pragmatic and responsible for students' general edification.
Cooper, S. (no date). "Theories of Learning in Educational Psychology." Lifecircles-inc.com. Retrieved from http://www.lifecircles-inc.com/Learningtheories/humanist/mezirow.html
Cheney, R.S. (2010). "Empirical measurement of perspective transformation." Michigan State University. Retrieved from https://www.msu.edu/~mwr2p/Cheney-MR2P-2010.pdf
Clark, M.C. (1993). "Transformational learning." New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. 57: 47-56.
Cragg, C.E., Plotnikoff, R.C., Hugo, K., Casey, a. (2001). "Perspective Transformation in RN-to-BSN Distance Education." Journal of Nursing Education. 40 (7): 317-322.
Kember, D., Leung, D., Jones, a., Loke, a.Y, McKay, J., Sinclair, K., Tse, Harrison, Webb, C., Wong, F., Wong, M., Yeung, E. (2000). "Development of a Questionaire to Measure the Level of Reflective Thinking." Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 25 (4): 381-395. Retrieved from http://cms.kcn.unima.mw:8002/moodle/downloads/chilemba/My%20Documents/PhD%20articles/Rflective%20Thinking.pdf
Lane, P.D. (1996). "Transformational learning in Post-Soviet Ukraine: A Case Study of Entrepreneurship in a Women's Craft Collective." East Tennessee State University. Retrieved from http://athenaeum.libs.uga.edu/bitstream/handle/10724/9648/lane_penelope_d_200705_phd.pdf?sequence=1
Mezirow, J.D. (1981). "A critical theory of adult learning and education." Adult Education Quarterly. 32(1), 3-24.
Moore, M. (2005). "The transtheoretical model of the stages of change and the phases of transformative learning: comparing two theories of transformational change." Journal of Transformative Education. 3: 394-415.[continue]
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