Transformational/transformative learning is basically about change. Mezirow believes that an adult will rely upon understanding their experiences with a particular manner of thinking until that manner is no longer effective. At that point if the adult is willing to look critically at the assumptions and beliefs and question how these things have affected his thinking, he then becomes open to changing and transforming these beliefs.
Mezirow also believes that it is the role of the adult educator to promote critical reflection in the adult learner, thereby enabling him to evaluate his and others’ assumptions and ultimately make the best (rational) choices (as cited in Merriam and Caffarella, p.320). In reference to transformational learning Mezirow states:
We transform our frames of reference by becoming critically reflective of assumptions and aware of the context of our way of thinking – the source, nature and consequences of our take for granted belief. Transformative learning refers to transforming a problematic reference to make it more functional in our adult life (Mezirow, J. (1998). Holdner, 1998