Transformative Education-The Global Perspectives Program Experience

Transformative education is a powerful term. It elicits a deeper understanding and a more holistic approach to learning about the topics at hand. As I prepare to take what I consider my second study abroad course I am reminded of how important transformative, experiential learning opportunities can be. An article published in the Journal of Travel Research entitled “The Educational Benefits of Travel Experiences: A Literature Review” provides support for transformative educational opportunities similar to the Global Perspectives Program at Virginia Tech. In a review of the literature the changes in how learning has evolved and morphed into an act of labor rather than leisure caught my attention. Students perceive learning to be something that must be done, and anything that must be done is most likely not leisure, but is that always the case? No, of course not. Transformative education attempts to take the notion of labor learning and develop leisure learning. Leisure learning…what a term. This doesn’t sound boring and it doesn’t elicit the thought of monotoned lectures and dull PowerPoint presentations, instead leisure learning conveys a flipped classroom approach to learning, where students are given opportunity to take control and have active class participation while learning how to actually apply the concepts learned prior to the scheduled class meeting time. Leisure learning is most easily described as the types of learning experiences that are provided through study abroad programs. These programs offer learning experiences without an actual classroom, but still have specific learning objectives and outcomes. With so many educational benefits to travel experiences (based on their foundation in transformative education) what can we as educators do to bring leisure learning opportunities to our classrooms?

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