Acting Differently: As a result of transformative learning, individuals revise their perspectives, values, and beliefs, and they then act differently based on these revised perspectives. Acting differently might be reflected in acting differently in relationships and how people go about their everyday life.
Self-Awareness: As a result of critical reflection, introspection, imagining alternatives, relational learning, and spiritual experiences, individuals increase their awareness of who they are. This means that they develop their understanding of their values, beliefs, and assumptions, both at a personal level and in their relation to others.
Openness: One outcome of transformative learning is becoming more open to considering and understanding others’ perspectives, values, and beliefs.
Shift in Worldview: Transformative learning is often described as a deep shift in perspectives. This can take place in relation to a person’s world view (philosophy, religious beliefs, political views).
Category: Beyond Rational
Arts-Based: Transformative learning can occur through experiences with the arts (viewing or creating), including music, poetry, fiction, painting, sculpture, and theatre. These experiences can both stimulate and support transformative learning.
Dialogue/Support: Individuals often describe the importance of dialogue with others and support from others as an important influence on the process of transformative learning. This support can come from family, friends, colleagues, fellow students, and others; the dialogue often helps people to further reflect on their experiences.
Emotions: For some individuals, emotions play an important role in the process of transformative learning; those emotions can be joy and happiness, or they can be anger and painful responses to events.
Imaginal/Soul Work: The process of transformative learning can be intuitive, imaginative, and involving “soul work.” For some people, these processes are central to transformation; that is, transformation involves becoming aware of images, dreams, and bringing the unconscious into consciousness.
Spiritual: Transformative learning can occur through spiritual experiences. This can be a process of transformative learning related to religious ideals, but more recently, spirituality is separated from relation and focuses more on soulful and intuitive personal experiences.
Category: Cognitive Rational
Action: As part of the process of making cognitive rational shifts in perspectives, individuals take actions that reflect their changing points of view.
Critical Reflection: Critical reflection and critical self-reflection is often viewed as central to transformative learning. Individuals question their assumptions, values, and beliefs through a reflective process. This can involve content reflection (what happened?), process reflection (how did it get to be this way?) and premise reflection (why is this important?)
Disorienting Dilemma: When individuals encounter an experience that is discrepant with their usual way of seeing the world, this can be seen as a disorienting dilemma. A disorienting dilemma has the potential to initiate a transformative learning experience.
Discourse: Discourse is a form of dialogue in which participants are fully informed, free from coercion, and able to weigh evidence. Discourse with colleagues, peers, fellow students, and others can be a central component of the transformative learning process.
Experience: Transformative learning is essentially involved with making new meaning out of experiences. Individuals enter into experiences that challenge their habits of mind and this becomes a central part of their transformative learning.
Category: Social Critique
Empowerment: The process of transformative learning can include standing up to those in authority and having greater confidence in questioning the norms of family, community, and society. This is often called empowerment.
Social Action: For some individuals, the transformative learning process involves supporting the freedom of others and fairness for all. Engagement in activities that have a goal of making the world a better place are a part of the process.
Unveiling Oppression: The process of transformative learning may include challenging how groups, classes, or cultures are represented and oppressed in the media. Individuals may work with others to address the needs of people from different cultures.
Ideology Critique: Within the social critique aspect of the transformative learning, individuals become conscious of the differences in advantages people have in life and work toward challenging these perspectives.