JackMezirow is credited for developing transformative learning theory.The theory maintains that the manner in which learners understandtheir senseand skills is vital in developing meaning that supportslearning (Instructionaldesign.org,2014).Accordingto this theory, there are two types of leaning: communicative andinstrumental learning. Instrumental learning puts much considerationon solving task-oriented problems and finding out cause and effectrelationships. Secondly, communicative learning entails the manner inwhich people communicate their desires, feelings, and needs(Barthell, Cunliff, Gage & Steele, 2010).The main component ofthis theory is meaning structures. Mezirow argued that reflectionentailed anevaluationof assumptions used to defineif beliefs attainedthrough cultural assimilation in youthfulcontinue to beapplicable foradults. It is through reflection that individuals understandthemselves and their learning better.
Mezirowfurther stated that there are four methods of learning: elaboratingor refining on the meaning of schemes, understanding new meaningschemes, changing meaning schemes and perspectives. Meaning schemesrefer to perceptions, beliefs, or a particular emotional reactionsinherent to the manner in which one respond to problems, situations,or conditions. Meaning schemes are produced by previousinterpretations implying that no conscious analysis has takenplace(Barthell, Cunliff, Gage & Steele, 2010). On the other hand,meaning perspectives can be defined as logical habits of anticipationthat enable an individual to integrate new experiences. They serve asfilters through which an individual can interpret or comprehend theworld around him.This theory has similar features with other theorieslike andragogy and experimental learning.
Constructivismis used to refer to a number of theories about learning that liesbetween humanistic and cognitive views. According to the cognitivetheory, the role of the learner is to majorly assimilate whatever theteacher is teaching.Constructivism, particularly in social formsindicates that the learner is highly involved in a joint enterpriseofconstructing new meanings with their teacher (Atherton,2014).
Therefore,social constructivism puts much emphasis on how individualsunderstand meaning through social interactions. In this aspect,conversational theories of learning can be categorized under theconstructivist framework. These theories emphasizes that the learneris supposed to be the active maker of meanings. The teacher is giventhe responsibility of having dialogue with the learner, trying tohelp the learner understand the meaning of the material learned, andassist him/her to refine the material to the place where it issimilar to that of the teacher. Other theories that can be put intoconsideration arethe personal construct theory and Piaget’s theory(Atherton,2014).
Themost vital foundation of social constructivist theory was laid downby Vygotsky in his theory of the “zone of proximal development”.Proximal simply refer to next. He observed that when learners wereleft to complete tasks on their own, they rarely did well as comparedto when they completed them with the assistance of an adult. Thisimplies that the process of engaging an adult enables them to refinetheir thinking and improve on their performance. According to him,language development and articulation are vital to learning anddevelopment
Theimplications of social constructivism and transformative learning toboth nurse and patient using the principles of adult learning can beanalyzed in various ways: Several authors define the term knowledgetranslation as a process that takes place through social andenvironmental relationships. It also emphasizes that the exchange ofknowledge between healthcare professionals and researchers issupposed to take place in a mutually created social context. The useof knowledge within knowledge translation can be said to be an activelearning process, this is because it is just a set of understandingsshaped by those using and producing it. Nurses act upon the newknowledge that they acquire by understanding the knowledge dependingon pre-existing experiences and understandings. They also relate itto the prevailing knowledge, imposing some meaning into it, and inmost cases, and observing their understanding in the entire process. Therefore research knowledge helps a nurse to be an active problemsolver and constructing his/her knowledge, rather thanan individualwho just receives information. This has made individuals to suggestthat social constructivist theory may be significant forunderstanding why individuals incorporate and use new knowledge inevidence-based clinical decision making.
Thesocial constructivism theory puts emphasis on purposeful creation ofknowledge. With respect to the principle of adult learning thatstates adults must want to learn, nurses are always willing toacquire knew knowledge. It is through social constructivist theorythat these nurses acquire new experiences and skills. The newacquired knowledge assists nurses in providing services to patients.Good services provided by nurses to patients motivatesthem or rathergive them hope that they will get well soon.Furthermore, nursescannot just acquire new knowledge, but they must be ready and willingto learn. Their readiness to learn can enable them acquires moreknowledge that can be relevant to their nursing profession.
Accordingto the social constructivist paradigm, a person is normally at themiddle of the meaning which makes sense. Therefore, focus ofconstructivism is based on an individual’s learning that happensbecause of their relationships within a specific social context. Thisis applicable to nurses and patients because adults usually learnthrough experience. In such a case, nurses are more experienced ascompared to their patients. Therefore, nurses use positiveexperiences to ensure that they transform negative experience oftheir patients about differentillness. It is through personalinterrelationships that nurses have with their patients that create asocial context.
Socialconstructivism is a sociological theory that focuses on how peopleconstruct and use knowledge in a socially mediated context.The mainpremise of this theory is the fact that,knowledge is constructed byhuman beings and that the learner is expected to be the active memberin the learning process. Constructivism relies on three keyassumptions about learning. Firstly, learning is an outcome of anindividual’s relationship with the environment. Knowledge isconstructed during the time when the learner makes experiences aroundthe globe (Qotfc.edu.au,2014).The content of learning does not depend on how an individual acquireslearning. What the learner understand in the learning process, theunderstanding of the learner, the objectives of the learner, and theactivity that the learner takes part in. Additionally, the socialenvironment plays a significant role in the development of knowledge.Most individuals in the environment may try to test the level of theunderstanding of the learner and offer alternative perceptionsagainst which the learner questions the practicality of hisknowledge.
Learningtheories enable nurses to understand the underpinning principles ofadult learning. For instance, adults need specific needs to enablethem learn. The knowledge acquired by nurses enables them to dealwith patients who are also regarded as adult learners. Patients aresupposed to be made aware on reasons why they are supposed to learnsomething.Learning provided by nurses to patients is supposed tofocus on tasks and skills. This is because they require both internaland external motivators for them to function autonomously. Learningtheories enable the nurse to understand some of the things thatmotivates patients.
TransformativeLearning Theory and adult Learning
Transformativelearning theory shows a specific idea for adult education thatassists adults to learn. Both the vision and conceptual frameworkshow exits from what various physicians have usually argued to be theobjectives of adult learning. It is understood as a way of adaptingto the demands and needs in the social cultural context.Transformative educators usually teach using varied instructionalstrategies. Transformative learning providesindividuals with aconstructivist theory of adult learning. From birth to adulthood,every person internalizes various ways of interpreting a personalexperience. For one to learn and transform himself, he should be in aposition to reflect his own experience. Such a process entails theproduction of meaning and interpretations.The main objective oftransformative learning theory is to enlarge the structures ofanticipation of various individuals.
Accordingto Taylor (2001),a theory of transformative learning is also calledconscientization. His work highly impacted the development of vitalperspective in adult learning. Critical consciousness can be definedas a way through which learners develop the capability to explore,make inquiries, and take action on the political, social,traditional, and fiscal contexts that impact the way we live. Throughdiscussion and problem solving, learners become aware of thestructures that are found within our societies that may result inoppression and inequality. Learning is very significant because itassists adults to have an inner understanding of the manner in whichtheses social understandings shape adult’s way of thinking(Mezirow, 1995).
Transformativelearningalso enables adult learners to have the capability to thinkautonomously implying that it enables them to think like individuals(Mezirow, 1995). It also enables them to come up with their own senseof meaning in a globe that is free from agreed beliefs, values,judgments, and emotional state that we get from our religions,beliefs, life experiences, and behaviors. Autonomous thinking issignificant for the whole participation of individuals in ademocratic society. It also enhances moral decision making,therefore, the notable objective of higher education is to give riseto autonomous thinkers. Furthermore, it enables adult learners tohave a genuine interrelationship with their educators that contributeto making differences in their own lives.It is also vital for adultlearners to use aspects of their learning skills to come up with apersonal meaning.
Theinfluence of Freire on adult learning is manifested in several wayswithin the practice of North American adult education, but maybe themost relevant one is the work of agencies like adult education as theHighlander Center in new Market, Tennessee, and Lindeman Center inChicago. In these centers, groups and individuals work as a team witha key objective of bringing social change. His work has also had animpact most of the American researchers and practitioners in adultliteracy education as well.
Adultsare said to be activein the learning process (Dirkx, 1998). Insteadof taking in the subject matter or content passively, supporters oftransformative learning put into consideration experiences andcontent as texts that are considered significant through learnersacting on them within their specific life circumstances. Therefore,transformative learningis one way of understanding adult learning.Some educationalists, who are highly conversant with Freirianperspective, emphasize on the importance of social structures and thenecessity to realize an equitable and a just society.
SocialConstructivist Theory and Adult Learning
Studiesshow that adults learn well with self-directed learning, a problemoriented approach, and their chance to make use of their skills toassist others. Additionally, cognitive theory was critiqued forundermining the social text the impacts of social factors onthought, opinions, and motivation are getting higher attention.Social constructivism and social cognition are the key perceptionswithin the cognitive theory. Social constructivists are concernedwith some of the highly rational as shown in the works of John Dewey,Jean Piaget, and Lev Vygotsky. Secondly, effective learning takesplace through social cooperation, negotiation, and collaboration.Based on this argument, nurses may have varied perceptions ofexternal reality. Every person works based on his exceptionalillustrations and interpretation of a condition, all of which arehighly influenced by a person’s cultural and social experience. Theissue of values and beliefs cannot be overlooked, and learning isinfluenced by having common beliefs, by recognizing and challengingvarying ideas, and by discussing new levels ofconceptualunderstandings.
Contraryto criticisms of what other scholars say about the socialconstructivist theory states, this theory does not ignore the role ateacher. For instance, just gives tools like problem solving thatenable students to formulate ideas. This implies that constructivismchanges adult learners and they actively participate in the learningprocess. With regard to nursing, nurses are expected to guide adultlearners to enable them comprehend what is taught. Nurses are chargedwith the responsibility of ensuring that adult learners aretransformed from passive to active members in the learning process.Adult learners can understand the meaning of constructivism throughsharing ideas and interacting with one another.
Theimpact of Transformative Learning Theory on Promoting Partnership incare
Thereare three types of learning namely instrumental, transformative, andcommunicative have a significant role in promoting partnerships.Themajor focus of instrumental learning is to improve performance ofindividuals through solving various problems and this result incontrolling individuals and the environment (Boyd, 1991). This typeof learning enables individuals to share and improve their skills.For instance, in a nursing organization, nurses may share variousideas on how to take care of a specific patient in a healthcare unit. This will be promoting unit in care because different ideas fromdifferent nurses enable them to arrive at a specific decision thatenables them to take good care of the patient.
Communicativelearning puts emphasis on learning for interpersonal understanding. Amajor part of this learning is that it entails reflective discoursewith others about the meanings that individuals pass across. In anursing profession, it is significant to understand a colleaguebecause this can be of great significance when it comes to providingadvice and getting feedback. All nurses and doctors receive advicefrom one another and it also enhances teamwork hence promotingprovision of better services to patients. Even though thetransformative learning theory states that there is need forinterpersonal understanding, not every nurse will be ready andwilling to cooperate with others when it comes to giving feedback andadvice. In some instances, some individuals may not be willing toshare their experiences with others.
Theimpact of Social Constructivist on Promoting Partnership in care
Thesocial constructivism theory promotes the significance of socialrelationships and learning through experience. It is believed thatthe young one usually learn from their adults. This is usuallythrough interactions with people around them and the globe aroundthem. This theory can be used to promote partnership in care invarious ways for instance it promotes interactions between nurses andpatients. Additionally, patients can learn of various ways that theycan use to enable them take care of themselves. It is through nurse’spartnerships that patients receive adequate care in health facilities(Dirkx, 1998). For instance, experienced nurses can partner with newnurses in the profession and the new nurses can gain experience onhow to take care of patients. These theory further states thatindividuals learn through experience. Therefore, nurses learn fromtheir fellow nurses and understand some of the things that they wouldhave otherwise not understood.
Accordingto Piaget’s theory of cognitive learning, children comprehendinformation through relating with others in their surroundings.Nursesand patients can only get to understand one another throughinterpersonal relationships. Nurses are supposed to understand thefeelings of their patients in certain circumstances. Vgotskystressedon the implication of social relations, language, and adults’guidance in the learning process. He further said that when adultsare teaching children, their main responsibility is to understand,answer back, and provide meaning to the actions of children (Dirkx,1998). It is thus the responsibility of nurses to fully understandtheir patient’s stage of thinking, to offer experiences at asuitable level for patients to actively realize and take part in thelearning process.
Whetherit is through the use of a single or several learning theories,nurses and other learning professionals are supposed to use them toprovide health care to their patients. Additionally nurses aresupposed to use these theories to provide a clear rationale, andimprove their relationships with patients.Learning theories scan beused both at the individual, community, and group level, but they canalso be used in solving problems, changing unhealthy behaviors,handling emotions, and building constructive relationships(Instructionaldesign.org,2014).
HowSC and TL guide Nurses and Patients in becoming True Partners in Care
Thesocial constructivist theory guides nurses and patients in becomingtrue partners in care in various ways. For instance, patients withsome spiritual perceptions or a specific parental background may havea belief that they are suffering from a specific disease because theyhave committed sins. Furthermore, other patients may blame others fortheir diseases. In this perspective, the attributions of patients mayor may not result in the wellbeing of the patient. This implies thatnurses have to put into consideration biases, and prejudices in thehealing process in order to become true partners. For instance, theycan guide them and make them understand that committing sins does notmake one sick. The cognitive theory has been critiqued for ignoringfeelings, and present attempts have been made to includecontemplations associated to feelings within a cognitive framework.
Thesocial learning theory has been applicable in nursing education,handling psychosocial problems, and making use of support groups. Forinstance, studies show that administrators who are informed of theirtaskspromote a good working environment hence promoting learning. Onthe other hand, dissatisfaction results in high staff turnover.Nurses have successfully used social learning principles when dealingwith young mothers and in handling alcoholism in older adults (Bahn,2001).
Thesocial constructivist and transformative learning theories arerelated theories that are used by both nurses and patients to enablethem become good partners in care(King, 2002). Every person isperceived to be a self-care agent who has the ability to carry outimportant self-care actions. There is always a variation in demandsfor care throughout one’s lifespan. In a nurse and patientrelationship, a joint decision is made between the nurse and patient.The main function of the nurse is to promote and provide care topatients. This is learned through having an interpersonalrelationship with other people in a social environment (King, 2002).This complicated ability enables both the nurse and the patient tounderstand the manner in which they are supposed to provide propercare to one another. This ability majorly relies on lifelongexperiences and values associated to culture.
Throughsocial constructivist theories, nurses come to understand that thatthe process of knowledge transmission takes place throughenvironmental and social interactions, and it emphasizes that theexchange of knowledge between nurses and their patients should takeplace through a mutually created social context. The knowledgeacquired by nurses enables them to extend health care services totheir patients (Instructionaldesign.org,2014).
Thetheory of social constructivism and transformative learning bestanalyze how it can guide nurses and patients on how to become goodpartners in care. This is because the two theories have underlyingprinciples and assumptions that have to be adopted by both patientsand nurses in order to provide good care (Cranton, 2006). Nurses andpatients will be able to learn from their previous experiences relatewith one another in their social environment.This enhancesunderstanding among one another and therefore extending care becomesvery easy. Additionally, the main role of the nurse is to see to itthat adult learners (patients) understand what the teacher isteaching(Cranton, 2006). This enables patients to comprehend and beresponsible for themselves and in this case, they can also extendcare services to other patients who are in terrible condition. Thesetheories can also guide nurses on what they are expected to put intoconsideration when extending their services to patients. Similarly,these theories will enable patients to have a better understanding ontheir situations or illness. The theories will enable them to be goodpartners of care because nurses will be aware of what they aresupposed to do in their profession.
Inconclusion, both social constructivism and transformative learningtheories are vital to the nursing profession.Transformative learningtheory mainly focuses on adult learning, specifically in the contextof post-secondary education. These theories also promote partnershipin care and these theories also serve as a guide for nurses andpatients in becoming true partners in care.
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