Toward transformative learning during short-term international study tours: implications for instructional design

Pond, Uriah (2018) Toward transformative learning during short-term international study tours: implications for instructional design. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Short-term international study tours are increasingly available as an elective academic credit course at Canadian universities and seminaries. My research examined the pedagogy of such study tours to ascertain whether a study tour that encourages critical reflection assists students to synthesise learning to the extent that their pre-existing conceptual framework is modified or transformed. Since all the tours had a spiritual or religious theme, I also investigated the extent to which these study tours encouraged transcendent experiences and spiritual learning.

I investigated four study tours, two of which went to Spain and included a pilgrimage along El Camino de Santiago, another to Israel/Palestine exploring both historical sites and contemporary issues, and the fourth to Cyprus, Malta, and Rome, exploring the history and legacy of Paul, the Christian apostle. In addition, I participated in a local Ontario, Canada, pilgrimage and a service learning trip to an orphanage in Mexico as comparatives to the study tours. Adopting an interpretivist methodology, data was gathered from students and professors through questionnaires and interviews, and from my observations as a participant researcher. The data were interpreted to map how learning is occurring using Kolb’s experiential learning cycle and Illeris’ three−dimensional learning model, and to identify what contributes to learning.

The research discovered that the student’s localised conceptual framework associated with the home context can be modified or transformed by the experience on-the-ground at the tour destination, resulting in transformative learning or moving students toward transformative learning. To encourage student learning, pre-tour preparatory studies should address the potential gap in student’s background knowledge and their existing meaning schemes, and should prepare the students for experiential learning. Reflective time and space should be provided during the tour to allow students to process their experiences, including emotional responses. And, post-tour assignments should encourage critical reflection that integrates and consolidates learning. To encourage spiritual learning requires accommodating students’ diverse interpretations of spirituality, and allowing students similar space and time, particularly at sacred places, to process spiritual experiences.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: transformative learning, study tour, spirituality.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: McKinney, Dr. Stephen
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Mr Uriah Pond
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-8525
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2017 13:45
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 09:29

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