Trainers and transformation: Facilitating the ‘dark side’ of vocational learning
‘Transformative learning’ is a term used by Mezirow (1991) and his followers to designate a specifically ‘adult’ kind of learning that involves shifts in how learners view the world and themselves. New research into learning in VET suggests that in some subject areas transformative learning may play more than an incidental role. Among the implications of this finding is that the trainer’s practice may be more important in VET than it has been the custom to acknowledge. When transfor-mative learning systematically contributes to VET, the trainer becomes a co-constructor of competence rather than a transmitter of skills and knowledge. This paper reports on this new research and reflects on the role of the trainer in the process of VET-oriented transformative learning. Results indicate that some trainers of youth workers develop a practice that responds to the contours and dangers of transformative learning without necessarily being aware of the body of knowledge that has built up around this type of learning. The paper suggests that in some VET sectors, trainers and RTOs could enhance their work by taking stock of transformative learning research and theory.
International Journal of Training Research
Technical, Further and Workplace Education