Transformative theory: a learning process of becoming critically aware of one's own tacit assumptions and expectations and those of others and assessing their relevance for making an interpretation. Three phases: critical reflection, reflective discourse, and action. Transformative learning often involves deep, powerful emotions or beliefs, and is evidenced in action.
Transformative theory can be applied when working in communities where there is segregation and members do not unite due to difference in ideologies. It can be applied in helping members acknowledge their biases and then working with the community in order to create unity by finding common beliefs and relevance. Transformative theory helps empower communities in that members are in a constant process of gathering information and making meaning of that information relative to the self. It helps community members learn about their likes and dislikes, in turn, motivated to create change.
Transformative theory is frequently used in the education system. It is useful when working with undecided/exploratory students. Advisors use this theory to help students gain clarity in their future plans and provides definition to their decision-making. By gathering information and exploring into their inner feelings students can rule out career and educational paths. Transformative theory helps students gain a “meaning of me.” In applying this theory the advisor and student engage in critical dialogue that leads the student to critically reflect on his/her experiences and that of others. The goal is for the student to act upon his learning experience to shape his/her goals and aspirations.