Following the breadcrumbs

The question this week is if Learning 2.0 supports and aligns with transformative learning and I think that the easy answer would be yes, however…..

Learning 2.0 is a set of tools used in an online environment for the purpose of teaching and learning.  These tools may be utilized to their full potential, or they might only be used enough to get by.  Everything depends upon the user (teacher and/or learner). If the user decides to do only what it takes to get by, then the transformative aspect of learning is not undertaken, or maybe it is undertaken but just not to the length that it could be.  Transformative learning it seems must involve a conscious effort to take learning to the next level.

This insight comes from the multiple readings from this week, which was prefaced by our esteemed instructor Michael Stephens who stated in his Panopto lecture that we should, “…not feel overwhelmed about that part…” which of course I expected to be anyway, because in my case reading does not just involve reading something through from beginning to end.  In many cases I start at the end or the middle or skip around to different sections but for some reason I cannot just proceed in a linear fashion.

I also tend to stop what I am reading when I have a thought and run over to do a Google search or browse the King Library databases to see what else I can find.  This inevitably leads to other ideas and new searches and before I know it I have multiple tabs open and am then faced with the task of following the breadcrumb trail back to where it began.  The fun thing about this is that by the time I make it back to the beginning my question might have changed, and this is probably because the answer I found was totally different from what I expected.  Or it could be that I found something more interesting and went on a totally new tangent.

So if you made it all the way through my train of thought in the above paragraphs then congratulations!  You have an idea, somewhat, of how my mind works.  This also, I think, describes one way that transformative learning might look like while in action: a process of questioning and searching and questioning again; a process that might seem to lead in one direction but could instead veer off course into an entirely new one.  Or perhaps an idea could branch off into several new ones in which case you have too many thoughts going on and you need to reign yourself back into one.  Or maybe two.

When applied to Learning 2.0, transformative thinking could be seen as a process of taking learning tools apart to see how they work and also how they do not work, and then applying those tools to real life situations.  People might have an affinity for one tool over another which is to be expected considering that we are all different, and thinking processes are unique for each one of us. This is not enough however; one must continue to use such tools (provided they are useful) otherwise one might end up with an arsenal of shiny new learning tools that become dusty from lack of use.  Or outdated learning tools that might leave you in the unenviable position of looking, I won’t say old, but out of date.

Christmas Dinner: Breadcrumb-stuffed tiger prawns by Kitchen Wench at Flickr Creative Commons

This is where one trail of breadcrumbs might lead...attributed to Kitchen Wench at Flickr Creative Commons

Booth, C.  (2011).  Reflective teaching, effective learning.  Chicago:  2011.  Kindle edition.

Mezirow, J. (1997).  Transformative Learning: Theory to Practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. Retrieved from

Wallace, S.  (n.d.).  Core principles of transformative learning theory – Mezirow & others. Retrieved from

Wallace, S.  (n.d.).  Peer learning – Lyle Yorks & Victoria J. Marsick.  Retrieved from


2 thoughts on “Following the breadcrumbs

  1. Wendy, I think your description of the meandering breadcrumb path describes my approach to my own blog – it took three years, but it more or less emerged into its present form during that time. (And I’m sure it will keep evolving as I go.)

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