Building Capacity for Transformative Learning – we won the EU project!

Posted on August 16, 2018

Do you know this feeling when something that you have been waiting for and working hard for finally comes true? 

The magical moment happened when I was taking out the trash and on the way checking my phone. As I open my mail account I suddenly feel my blood rush to my head with excitement: there it was, the E-Mail from the European Union! We had been waiting for it for months. I manage to put my trembling fingers onto the mail and calm myself enough to read that our project proposal was actually granted! I dropped the trash right where it was and forwarded these wonderful news to our entire project team.

The whole story started 4 years ago, when I (Ursel as a freelancer on behalf of Visionautics) invited the first application for an EU funded project in the field of transformative learning together with a team that had come out of the International Partnership for Transformative Learning. Back then the project team did not quite know yet what it takes to write a successful application and so we did not get it that time. But we were so enthusiastic about the topic itself and convinced that we were actually on to something, that we took another chance the next year. We knew by then that the crowd we wanted to serve through our project were adult educators, especially those who feel stuck in their system or organization and are thirsty for fresh approaches to teach/facilitate/host their student's learning. 

Our project became rated as eligible, but not granted. But the feedback we got said exactly what we also perceived: that students were bored with their studies and the way their learning was facilitated and that educators lacked the skills to make a change. 

That was so encouraging that we improved our project design, applied again, and then again.

And now we made it! 4 years of hard work are coming to fruition.

So in September 2018 the Academy of Visionautics will dive into a new project with a wide range of prospect impact: together with 4 partners from 4 EU countries we will research during 2 years about transformative learning and develop a blended learning Train-the-Trainer course on transformative learning.  

Through our ardous journey we learned quite a lot about transformative learning: not only that this is a multi-defined term, but also that if you don't experience it, you can only talk about it as the blind man can talk about the color. We matured a lot as a team too, and grew together. We now know that Transformative Learning is practical by nature, and also that nevertheless it is a very hot topic in academic contexts, especially where theories about the development of forms of mind are being discussed (see for example a summary of Changing on the Job  or, even more academic, a PhD on leading complex change with post-conventional consciousness).

With this project we want to bring theory and practice together, bring more clarity to the field and leverage some of the immense collective potential that comes with working at the intersection of Theory U, Robert Kegan, Vision Quests, Storywork and many more. We will develop 

- a competences grid
- a coursebook with practical exercises and theretical explorations
- a Train the Trainer course
- an online learning environment

We invite you to participate in and partake of this endeavour. 

If you consider yourself knowlegable in transformative learning, we are curious to interview you! What is your understanding of this way of facilitating people's learning, and what key ingredients cannot miss? What´s the role of the environment and how should you design it? Last but not least: What is it actually, that is being transformed in the process? If you don´t consider yourself knowledgable enough, maybe you want to point us towards somebody whose voice you think should not be missing in this work.

If you are interested in transformative learning and maybe intend to employ it in your courses or organization, then you are the one we are ultimately working for. Our course will be made for those who work in adult education and want to expand their expertise. So if you want to immerse yourself into a transformative learning experience, become part of a growing network AND learn how to lead others on such a journey: maybe you want to join our Newsletter?! We aim for quarterly updates.

Last but not least, let us introduce you to the wonderful people who are already involved in this project

Our partners are
Marco Valente on behalf of Legacy17 from Sweden
Zsuzsa Vastag on behalf of Rogers foundation from Hungary
Jasenka Gojsic with Isoropia from Croatia
Neža Krek who is Slovenian, joining us from the Netherlands.
Ursel Biester will be the project leader for the Visionautik Akademie.

We are also extremely happy to have 4 special people with a lot of expertise on our board:
Martin Cadée
Mary Alice Arthur
Tracy (Meisterheim) Chaplin
Frauke Godat

We are looking forward to this project in anticipation. We will learn so much! We will learn from each other, with each other, with books, without books, and hopefully with you. If you are reading this, you surely are exactly the person we are looking for: please do connect:

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