Career Connect Staff Attend the TLC
Members of the Career Connect team attended and presented at the Transformative Learning (TL) conference that occurred March 14 and 15th of 2019 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This conference has been a staple in the University of Central Oklahoma community since its inception seven years ago, and over the last few years the conference has expanded the conversation to include state, regional, national, and global partners. The mission of the TL conference is to support, promote, and foster individuals in discussing, implementing, and measuring the impact of a transformative education. The sessions held were thought provoking and inspiring, and included topics such as: Student Reflections on Group Work, Creating and Implementing Transformative Learning in Online Classrooms, Creating a Compelling Curriculum, and many more.
Jack Mezirow is coined as the originator of transformative learning theory which developed in the late 1900s. The theory describes how individuals apply critical self-reflection throughout their development, Mezirow describes this experience as learning that transforms problematic frames of reference to make them more inclusive, discerning, reflective, open, and emotionally able to adjust (Mezirow, 2009). This transformative learning theory can be compared to Career Connect’s foundational theory, Kolb’s Experiential Learning theory, which also emphasizes a developmental process, values reflection, and encourages active involvement of the learner as they integrate new knowledge and find meaning.
The conference attendees were predominantly educators who believe in the theory and practice of transformative learning inside and outside their classroom. These educators hold a passion for making the learning environment meaningful for their students, which directly parallels with the Career Connect purpose of providing opportunities for students to get more than a grade in a course and to make meaningful connections that can be applied to their future careers and lives.
The Career Connect team presented on the theoretical underpinnings that drive the team - implementation and assessment processes, challenges encountered, future directions and most importantly stories of student successes. Students are the primary motivating factor in doing the work Career Connect does and highlighting their experiences while participating in transformative experiential learning inside and outside the classroom is imperative. The conference served as a reminder that students remain the priority at Career Connect and it is important to continually consider the reasons we do the work we do (suggested by both the transformative and experiential learning theories!).
Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2009). The learning way: Meta-cognitive aspects of experiential learning. Simulation & Gaming, 40(3), 297-327.
Mezirow, J. (2009). Transformative learning theory. In J. Mezirow, and E. W. Taylor (Eds), Transformative Learning in Practice: Insights from Community.