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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Designing Pathways for Adult Learning: A Model for Creating Transformative Learning Opportunities

Kathleen P. King.

This paper presents an instructional design model for creating transformative learning opportunities that is the result of research into adult learners’ experiences in many settings. Transformative leaning is an adult learning theory that has been the focus of much discussion and research since the late 1970s. This theory provides a framework from which to understand how adults understand and integrate new information and understandings into their meaning perspectives or their foundational frameworks of understanding. Grounded in research that the author has continued since 1996, comparisons and distinctions are made across these transformative learning experiences. The model that is presented serves as a comprehensive perspective of transformative learning, reveals similarities and differences of experiences, provides a framework for application, and offers direction for academic and action research.
This model includes several dimensions in the form of two layers of design, planning, and action and an integrative composite. The view of educators as facilitators and adult learners as the primary agents in the learning process is a foundational element for the possibilities afforded through this model. Transformative learning is an opportunity for us to engage as co-learners with our adult learners: watching them explore meanings and test new understandings, listening to their reasoning and considering their perspectives, and drawing alongside to watch the changing landscape and to offer additional possibilities for contemplation. The open-ended experience of transformative learning is integrally supported in the proposed model and in fact becomes a theme of the learning opportunities that may be developed.


Kathleen P. King  (United States)
Associate Professor
Graduate School of Education
Fordham University

Kathleen P. King is program director and associate professor of the MS in adult education and human resource development program at Fordham University's Graduate School of Education in New York City. She has 20 years experience in adult education teaching and research in a variety of settings and is author/co-author of three books on the professional development of educators.

  • Transformational Learning
  • Adult Learning
  • Instructional Design Model
  • Learner-centered Classrooms
Person as Subject
  • Based on transformative learning theory, which originated with Jack Mezirow and has been widely interpreted and researched.

(Virtual Presentation, English)