Building upon the theoretical debate: A critical review of the empirical studies of Mezirow's transformative learning theory

Edward W. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations

Abstract

This critical literature review is an attempt to build upon the theoretical debate of Mezirow's transformative learning theory by investigating what the empirical studies have to say about a perspective transformation. The review finds much support for Mezirow's theory, but at the same time suggests a need to reconceptualize the process of a perspective transformation. The review discloses a learning process that needs to recognize to a greater degree the significant influence of context, the varying nature of the catalyst of the process, the minimization of the role of critical reflection and increased role of other ways of knowing and relationships, and an overall broadening of the definitional outcome of a perspective transformation. Research needs to continue, particularly in the areas of cultural diversity, the fostering of transformative learning in the classroom, and the nature of and relationship between critical reflection and other ways of knowing. Designs of research including other methods beyond interviews, such as observations and content analysis in an ongoing educational context, would also be valuable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-59
Number of pages26
JournalAdult Education Quarterly
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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