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Drawing from theoretical lineages including transformative, holistic, integral and indigenous ways of knowing, we embrace TLCs through the metaphor of a traveler exploring a landscape…
a living system of understandings that emerge in the exploration process…
where the path emerges in the walking.
Engage in an educational experience that is personal, relational, challenging, and deeply meaningful.
Our learning path way allows you to explore who you are called to become and what contribution you can make.
Integrate in-person distance learning with learning in short-term residencies. Online, we converse in person in real time.
"This program has brought me to a completely new level of perspective and awareness. I know more about myself, education, business and my purpose here, because of The Transformative Learning Foundation. My dream is becoming a reality before my eyes, because every course I take and choose allows me to build relevant knowledge and apply that knowledge to what is meaningful in accomplishing that goal."
"My experience at The Transformative Learning Foundation has been life changing. The quality of my learning experiences, the faculty mentors and the relationships I’ve formed and strengthened through my time at The Transformative Learning Foundation have deeply enriched my life."
"My experience has been one of tremendous healing, inspiration and growth. I’ve learned more than I imagined and continue to be surprised with how my learning unfolds. I am continuously inspired by mentors and colleagues – both in the course offerings and in the quality of the conversations that ensue during classes and in between."
We have been evolving our vision and mission over the past ten years. As we have been in that process we have discovered the real essence of emergence. Witnessing nature as she is continually revealing emergence as a guiding principle- we recognize that we cannot help a butterfly emerge from the chrysalis in any way, for it has its own timing. If we try to rush the process, we end up destroying the very thing we are trying to save. And then there are storms that gather regardless. This narrative for our Transformative Learning Community (TLC) has been emerging for the past year.
As with Nature, we are moving into a new season… of great potential….as we formally announce that our relationship with Antioch University is now formalized as of March 2020, the result of a very effective collaborative process since November.
This alignment emerged into a partnership due to shared pedagogy and core guiding values. How was our “start up” able to partner with a University that began in 1852 with Horace Mann as its first president who was a politician, abolitionist and education reformer? Resonating values revealed to us how Antioch holds space for students to unite their passion with purpose, encouraged to take a stand for themselves and what matters most to them. Antioch provides a prominent University online program that provides learner-centered education to empower students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. What resonates most of all is the driving intention for students to not only demonstrate the core competencies that are required for career success but to instigate change and have a positive impact on the world.
What a huge relief we felt, for after several months of trying to figure out our best possible scenario for leveraging what we do best, we attracted a university who also is post traditional, and who understands the meaning of a holistic approach to learning- and where we are seen as a reciprocal collaborative partner. Both organizations agree there is much to learn from each other as we traverse the changes needed for 21st century online learning space.
The former GIFTLearning program has now morphed into the Transformative Learning Community Concentration under the Social Science component within the Antioch IMA program. Through the affiliation agreement we were able to bring our faculty along with a transfer process for our learners. There is a plan for our graduates to apply for the Ed.D program and possibly receive credit for their Masters degree toward their terminal degree.
Laurel Tien, previously Academic Dean for GIFTLearning, is now the Concentration Director for Transformative Learning Community under the Antioch Social Sciences IMA (Individualized Master’s Program). It has been her role to hold space for the transition for the learners as they transferred over to Antioch University. With the IMA Chair and Faculty, she co-designed the Bridge Course for the 23 Learners, oriented both TLF and AU to the synchrony of the two programs, and negotiated a smooth path for the collaboration. She is in the process of completing her PhD at CIIS in Transformative Studies, where she is researching Transformative Education for an Emerging Future: Containers for Generative Collective Wisdom. In Western contexts, education as a consumer commodity (termed third-person learning) tends to be the norm, focusing on objective pieces of external, static information needing to be absorbed by the learner. All TLC programs acknowledge three perspectives of relationship: objectivity (third person observations removed from self), subjectivity (first-person meditation and contemplation), intersubjectivity (for example, second-person dialogue). Starting with third person (where most of us are coming from) we move into first-person (self-authored) and second-person (generative collective wisdom). In this way, all TLC offerings integrate first-, second-, and third-person knowing, drawing from an inquiry-based process of wonder, explore, design, apply, within the collective.
Laurel is also the Director for non-degree programs under the Transformative Learning Foundation (TLF), supporting ongoing Professional Development and Executive Leadership offerings in the practice of TLCs, offered by our community members (Faculty, Learners, Alumni, Board and Advisory Committee). We are especially excited to be able to share offerings from our Faculty and Learners who have created their own schools. During this process our organization has continued to embody our aspiration to be a leading facilitator in wisdom for learning – awakening potential for the evolution of consciousness. This is the true essence of a vision statement-one that is bigger than life and yet one so compelling that every action we take is fulfilling the destiny of our guiding purpose. Observing our own movement into the uncertainty, we were very sensitive to HOW we were approaching the new weather patterns and WHO we were becoming central to WHAT we would be needing to put in place.
We continuously feel compelled to respond to the current scenarios impacting the domain of education. We believe that learning can be transformative. Many learning environments do not embody that quality, especially when there is an overriding emphasis placed on testing or the pressure to prove that one is good enough to move forward based on a set of artificial standards, moving along on an industrial conveyor belt, known as the traditional model of education. And this framework is so instilled as” IT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS,”especially when challenging the status quo, and even more so when some existing system(s) of the accreditation process is not yet in the realm of post-traditional learning.
Through our years of research and practice we have held true to being the change we want to see, perhaps even being seen as a disrupter. No matter what, our faculty and leaders have aligned with a different view, not only post traditional, but more resonant with an ecological model, emanating from nature herself. Nature is our best teacher, and the more we sensed this the more present we allowed our next steps to ground us. Patiently, we let go of one form, and began exploring options along the way. We trusted something would emerge for our next stage. And now we are witnessing the benefit of trusting this natural process.
Since mid 2019, we began restructuring our Board of Directors for this next stage, along with the painful part of letting go of the way we had held our GIFTLearning. We had to pursue a different approach for strengthening our capacity- focusing on our unique contributions as evidenced with our learners and our alumni. We recognized that our brand promise, one that developed naturally. has shown up in the development of learning communities that our graduates have designed now in several locations around the world: Winnipeg, Sao Paulo, Beijing, Austin, Bali and Germany. Yet, due to a lack of fit with our accreditation progression, we had to suspend business as usual, and our focus began to go deeper within to nurture our learners during this interruption to their learning journey along with our existing faculty. The president of GIFTLearning, Paul Freedman,who had been co-leading during these turbulent times, realized his role would also need to be suspended, and he chose to move back to playing a vital role within our faculty.
Through suspending the view of what was not working in our pursuit to be recognized for our paradigm shifting approach with a low residency Master’s Degree program, and becoming more and more present to who we were BEING through the transition period, and how we were DOING what needed to be done without losing sight of our guiding vision and core values, we were able to keep our organization together through our residency at the Whidbey Institute,and zoom gatherings and sure enough -we were able to attract an aligned partner to affiliate and integrate our unique model-Transformative Learning Community, within their stable and sustainable online Master Degree program.
One of the guiding principles that we hold near and dear is that we choose to become a self-renewing learning community of care. This principle has generated a synergy with our Board, Faculty, and most of all our Learners. This is a “power-with” strategy and it is based on synergy-where two or more parties working together bring about results that would not have occurred if they had worked alone.
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