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Want to deepen your practice in creating and leading Transformative Learning

Are you a teacher or parent supporting self-directed learners?

Are you
looking for a community to support your personal and professional development? Are you running a progressive school and looking for staff who understand and practice transformative learning?

Our learning community model as emerged with our learners and faculty over the past 10 years as we practiced what it means to become a self-renewing learning community of care.

As we take stock on what has been planted, seeded, cultivated and now cross pollinating- several of our alumni have taken the learning they have designed with mentors in our model, and now have created unique holistic learning communities in more than seven locations around the world: including Beijing, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo, Winnipeg, New Zealand, British Columbia, and Austin.

Now we are leveraging what we have learned as we evolve to the next
level—leading the movement of learning communities. Our programming offers the opportunity to explore your own curiosity, answer your own questions, and follow your own enthusiasms—within our learning community.

Transformative Learning (TL): How are we defining and living it?

Drawing from transformative, holistic, integral, contemplative and indigenous
ways of knowing, we embrace TL through the metaphor of a traveller exploring a landscape…a living system of understandings that emerge in the exploration process…Where the path emerges in the walking. Walking with your mentors and fellow learners, you explore your wonderings individually and collectively. This supports an individualized process where you can join where you need to join, drawing on your own strengths and questions as you travel through the landscape.

Our programming offers the opportunity for learning in community, acknowledging a tension between two learning paradigms: self-authored and nested in an intentional TL community. You experience inquiry-based learning within the power of conversation and connection with your mentors and community.


We believe:

  1. The learner is not only a consumer of third-person knowledge. Learning from a first- and second- person perspective in real-world contexts puts the “learner into the driver’s seat of profound societal change” (Sharmer, 2018). Deepening self-knowledge can occur through the inquiry-based process of wonder, explore, design, apply.
  2. Embodied, experiential learning allows for the ‘movement of the inner place of learning from the head to the heart, and from the heart to the hand”. Building on that we see the cultivation of profound learning relationships to nature and to social fields as gateways to the deeper sources of knowing (”the fourth teacher”). (Sharmer, 2018b, p. 5)
  3. Systems literacy is central to Generating Collective Wisdom; learners must learn methods to make the system see and sense itself. This is the core capacity to unlock collective creativity (Sharmer 2018) ; “all societal sectors go through similar institutional changes: from perpetuating systemic silos to cultivating generative social field in the context of their eco-systems. Learners need to be literate in facilitating this shift.”
  4. Mentors and co-learners can support “Tend the Fire: To patiently elicit and draw out the unique qualities and expression of each person with perseverance and in support of his or her highest possible future. (Sharmer 2018)


Explorations Program

The Explorations in Transformative Learning program is a 6 course low-residency, interdisciplinary program.

Certified Practitioner program in Transformative Learning Communities.

This is a leadership program centered on paradigm shifting relationships for social change in education. We invite you as an integral heart-centered changemaker to be our co-generators in facilitate learning communities forward into the world as an obvious choice for learning for life.

Framework: Learning as a living system

This definition of TL allows for a map–a living system–of a series of three 3 month-long modules and a balance between self-inquiry and community dialogue; this is supported by your overall portfolio mentor (monthly/bi-weekly meetings), and regular group check-ins. You choose your overall mentor based on your area of interest, working in relationship to notice where are you coming from, where are you wanting to go…This emergent format is used as a scaffolding for each module–to emphasize the process, and to experience TL. In Western contexts, education as 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, the Certified Transformative Learning Communities (TLC) Practitioner program integrates first-, second-, and third-person knowing, drawing from an inquiry-based process of wonder, explore, design, apply, within the collective.

Locations on the TLC map

  1. Presencing/grounding: deep listening, communication, modalities, process of dialoguing, unconditional regard (Brene Brown, NLP, Virginia Satir, Carl Rogers)
  2. What is learning? Trust, optimal zone/safety, enthusiasm, “fanning a flame”, part of daily life, no end, strengths-based, Principles and praxis, emergence, process–Learning to learn: process of wonder, explore, design, apply
  3. Relationality: Maturana–biology of love (Pille)–creating that space for emergence (Sam), Peter Block–systems literacy, intersubjectivity, generative collective wisdom
  4. Theories of adult development: awakening, unfolding, evolution of consciousness/New story (Marshak, McIntosh, Eisentein…)
  5. Learning as a living system: integrating first-, second-, and third-person knowing

Pre-certification phase: Exploring the map through modules

You choose your modules as you and your mentor explore the learning map. A minimum of three (two additional to Orientation) in the pre-certification phase before can move to joining the Certified Transformative Learning Communities (TLC) Practitioner community.

  1. Orientation Module: All learners start here. You are introduced to our map: the inquiry- based process of wonder, explore, design, apply, within the collective of the Certified Practitioners community. This natural cycle of learning based on privileging embodied, emergent collective knowledge, what we call learning as a living system.
  2. Workshop Module: Series of 3 workshops chosen by learner. Each workshop runs four weeks, in person via zoom. This module can be repeated.
  3. Auditing an graduate-level course from our TLF Explorations program: Want to try a more academically focussed course? This may be able to be transferred to an accredited Masters program. This module can be repeated.
  4. Practicum Module: Joining one of our Certified Practitioners in a hands-on experience (e.g. one of our grads at their school). This module can be repeated.
  5. Project Module: Interested in designing your own module? Choose your mentor, your learning goals and proposed outcomes. This module can be repeated.

Ongoing PD phase

Once you have completed your learning map experience, you join the Certified Transformative Learning Communities (TLC) Practitioner community. This includes monthly community circles, an annual Community Gathering at Whidbey Institute. You maintain your learning portfolio to continue exploring your growth edges and maintain your Certified Transformative Learning Communities (TLC) Practitioner status.

Program Resources

Portfolio Mentor: The Portfolio Mentor is an individual with lived experience in generating transformational learning communities; they provide learning support for students during their program. Learners are given a list of potential mentors before starting the program and requested to choose a first, second and third choice. This person is available to students for email and videoconferencing communication as needed, supporting students’ journey through the program and guiding students as they refine their portfolio.

Google Classroom Portal: Each workshop will have specific resources and materials, discussion boards, and additional resources.

Community Portal: The Community Portal site is a connection to the program and the larger self-renewing community of care.