Experiential Graduate Education: An Experiment in Transformative Learning

  • Marilyn Laiken Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto


Five years of teaching a graduate course in organizational learning have convinced the author that the course has a transformative impact on her mature adult students. The article examines the nature of this form of experiential education in the light of transformative learning theory and learning organization concepts. Using the course as a case example, the author offers a number of specific approaches to: developing a constructive learning environment; enhancing team learning; surfacing and discussing assumptions; supporting systems thinking; and personal mastery. Finally, the author examines the role of the instructor as a facilitator of transformative learning. The objectives are to help adult educators reflect on one kind of environment that seems to have a transformative impact and to explore how to continue to successfully design such experiences for and with adult students.