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Margaret DiVito Walden University March 2010. Jack Mezirow’s Transformational Learning. Do you know Jack?. Transformative Learning Concerns:. Mezirow’s Definition of Learning.

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Jack mezirow s transformational learning l.jpg

Margaret DiVito

Walden University

March 2010

Jack Mezirow’s Transformational Learning

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Mezirow’s Definition of Learning

The process of using a prior interpretation to construe a new or a revised interpretation of the meaning of one’s experience in order to guide future action.

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Frames of Reference

Habits of Mind

Points of View

…these operate below our level of awareness…

…there is more awareness for these…

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Habits of Mind

A set of assumptions – broad, generalized, orienting dispositions that act as a filter for interpreting meaning.


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Points of View

Immediate specific beliefs



Value judgments

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Four Levels of Transformative Learning

  • Existing frames of reference

  • Learning new frames of reference

  • Transforming a point of view

  • Transforming a habit of mind

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Mezirow’s Steps in Transformational Learning

Disorienting dilemma


Critical assessment of Assumptions

Recognizing that others have gone through a similar process

Exploring options for formulating a new plan of action

Acquiring knowledge and skill

Trying out new roles

Renegotiating relationships

Building competence

Reintegration back into one’s life based on the new, transformed perspective

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Criticism of Mezirow’s Transformational Learning


Cognitive emphasis


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Brock, S. (2010). Measuring the importance of precusor steps to transformative learning. Adult Education Quarterly, (60) 2, 122-142 . DOI: 10.1177/0741713609333084

Collard, S. & Law, M. (1989). The limits of perspective transformation: A critique of Mezirow’s theory. Adult Education Quarterly, (39) 2, 99- 107.

Kelly, R. (2010). Transformative learning: Q & A with Patricia Cranston. Faculty Focus, January 19, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional- design/transformative-learning-qa-with-patricia-cranton/

Merriam, S. (2004). The role of cognitive development in Mezirow’s transformational learning theory. Adult Education Quarterly,

(55) 1, 60-68.

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Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S., &Baumgartner, L.M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide. CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mezirow, J. (1978). Education for perspective transformation: Women re- entry programs in community college. New York Center for Adult Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Mezirow, J., & Associates. (2000) Learning as transformation: Critical

perspectives on a theory in progress. CA: Jossey-Bass.

Stansberry, S. & Kymes, A. (2007). Transformative learning through “teaching with technology” electronic portfolios. International Reading Association,

(488 – 496). DOI: 10.1598/JAAAL.50.6.6

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