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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Factors that Promote Transformative Learning Experiences of International Graduate-Level Learners
by Kumi-Yeboah, Alex, Ph.D., University of South Florida, 2012, 209; 3505134
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to examine factors that promote the transformative learning experiences of international graduate-level learners. This study was conducted to analyze how international graduate students experience transformative learning through educational and non-educational experiences.

Identification of factors unique to international graduate students could enhance the curriculum in American universities addressing the learning needs of international graduate students. Participants included international graduate students from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America in the two Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering. Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning (1978) was used as the theoretical framework for this study. A paper version of the modified Learning Activities Survey instrument was used to collect data for this study. A pilot study was conducted to establish the integrity of the data collection methods, evaluate the viability of the interviews, and assess the performance of the modified instrument for data collection.

Of the 560 surveys that were distributed, 421 of them were completed and returned. Overall, 79.6% of the participants reported that they had experienced transformative learning while 20.4% reported that they had not experienced transformative learning. Among participants who experienced transformative learning, 32.3% of the transformative experiences were associated with education, 29.4% reported both educational and non-educational transformative learning experiences, while 17.9% were non-education. Nine participants who experienced transformative learning were selected for follow-up interviews. These individuals were randomly selected to ensure representation across gender, age group, continent of birth, and college. This group identified classroom activities as the educational transformative learning and factors related to major life changes as non-educational.

The majority of the participants experienced transformative learning as a result of both educational and non-educational experiences. The categories from the open-ended response questions were similar to the educational and non-educational factors (mentoring, classroom discussions, new life experiences). This research demonstrated that classroom discussions, mentoring, and major life changes emerged as the major factors across all three data sets.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: James, Waynne B.
Commitee: Closson, Rosemary B., Kromrey, Jeffrey, Young, William H., III
School: University of South Florida
Department: Adult, Career and Higher Education
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 73/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Multicultural Education, Adult education
Keywords: Cultural changes, Graduate students, International learners, Mezirow's perspective transformation, Transformative learning
Publication Number: 3505134
ISBN: 978-1-267-29059-5
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