While there are several theories that focus on transformation, the best known if the theory developed by Jack Mezirow. The term transformative refers to the idea that adults can reflect on and make sense of their experiences in a way that changes them is some way. This process occurs when learners change either their frame of reference by altering either their habits of mind (assumptions through which experience is filtered) or their point of view (beliefs and attitudes).
The transformative learning process involves:
- Critical reflection on the experience
- Reflective discourse (seeking out and discussing a variety of opinions and perspectives related to the experience)
- Action (a decision, plan, or specific action prompted by the process)
For more detail on transformative learning, see the summary provided by Western Governors University.