MEd in Transformative Learning Environments

Blended delivery master's program designed for practicing professionals


MEd Specialist: Transformative Learning Environments


Blended: online and face-to-face


Two years over summer, fall, winter, and spring terms


Graduate Program Administrator:
Lisa Dale
E-mail Lisa

Academic Coordinator:
Dr. Brent Davis
E-mail Dr. Davis

Community Partner:
Dr. Moshe Renert
E-mail Dr. Renert

We invite applications to this program for 2021 admission.

The MEd Specialist in Transformative Learning Environments (TLE) is a practical, research-informed program designed for educators who wish to create and implement progressive, cutting-edge curriculum and pedagogy. The focus of the twelve-course program is to support educators’ efforts to enhance their practice by incorporating insights from Transformative Learning – a contemporary educational discourse that is concerned with expanding one’s awareness by critically reflecting on beliefs, habits of interpretation, and actions. Transformative Learning embraces complex, integral, and ecological sensibilities.

This program will be of interest to educators in various disciplines and across all levels who wish to broaden their practices, educational leaders with interest in Transformative Learning, and consultants or other professionals with interest in TLE.

Program Details

The program will be offered through a blended approach. The intention is to have substantial in-person aspects at a remote site (Renert School) for every course supplemented with some online interaction, but the coordinators are mindful of a potential need to adapt entirely to an online structure. While the goal is to locate the courses at the Renert School, the program will be open to participants from all jurisdictions.

Please note that the in-person component is dependent on the evolving Covid-19 situation.

Students in this program will:

  • Identify and critically evaluate theories of Complexity and Integral thinking and apply these theories in understanding teaching and learning in the classroom;
  • Identify and describe various teaching and learning methodologies, and critically examine these methodologies for learners’ interests, needs, and specific teaching contexts;
  • Identify and critically examine goals and distinguishing features of transformative learning environments;
  • Describe and interrogate processes of effective transformative curriculum design;
  • Identify and critically analyze signature practices of transformative learning;
  • Describe and critically examine how transformative learning has been implemented in various disciplines (e.g., humanities, STEM);
  • Describe and critically interrogate the role of choice in transformative learning: How does choice transform the learner and the learning process? How is choice to be incorporated into the learning process at various ages?
  • Analyze the critical lenses used to understand interpersonal relationships in education and their relationship to transformative learning;
  • Critically examine practice from transformative schools and assess their effectiveness;
  • Analyze emerging technologies and explore, create, and co-create technologies that can transform learning;
  • Analyze and apply sound philosophical and pedagogical rationales when designing new transformative teaching contexts.

A registration package will be sent to new students after they have been admitted. Registration for the summer term will be available in late winter. Fall and Winter registration opens in the spring. Your Graduate Program Administrator will send more information about registration to you.

Fee details are available through the University Calendar. An explanation of fees is available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies' website.

Program Schedule

You'll see the list of required courses and detailed course descriptions for your MEd Specialist program below. 

Please consult the Graduate Calendar for brief course descriptions.

Course outlines are normally posted in D2L 1-2 weeks prior to the start of the term.

Year 1

Understanding Transformative Learning

EDER 678.09 L06 (Summer 2021 #50641)
Learning Theories and the Learning Sciences
This course sets the stage for the program as it looks across some of the many ways that educators have interpreted and attempted to influence learning. It will offer both a general survey of discourses on learning that are prominent in the field of education and a specific survey of those that are prominent in the Learning Sciences, aiming to highlight common themes and major divergences among perspectives on learning and their entailments for teaching and research. Particular emphasis will be placed on perspectives on learning that are rooted in contemporary cognitive science.


EDER 678.08 L05 (Summer 2021 #50640)
Complexity and Design in Education
This course brings the conceptual frame of the program into tighter focus by exploring the contributions – actual and potential – of complex/systems thinking to educational research and practice. That exploration is used to frame examinations of the cognitive, strategic, and practical processes associated with Design Thinking. While we will delve into the underlying theory of complex systems, the principal emphasis will be pragmatic, aimed at understanding and applying complexity and design thinking as important and appropriate attitudes for contemporary work in education.

EDER 678.07 L03 (Fall 2021 #75394)
Integral Theory, Transdisciplinarity and Educational Research
This course aims to present a frame for varied topics and attitudes within educational research – one that is explicit about the necessary transdisciplinary character of the field of education. To these ends, it explores some of the implications of integral thinking to educational research and practice by approaching classical distinctions (e.g., empirical vs. interpretive; individual vs. collective) as sites of integration rather than division. We will study the central ideas of integral philosophy, its strategies for engaging with transdisciplinarity, and provocative associations between its model of consciousness development and current debates on the role of education in a rapidly changing world. We will also critically examine the implementation of integral ideas in various application contexts. The principal emphasis will be on the contributions of integral thinking to contemporary work in education.

EDER 678.10 L03 (Winter 2022 #15108)
Educational Choice and Transformative Learning
This course will pull together the threads of discourses on learning, complexity, design, and integration in an introduction to the role of learner choice in Transformative Learning. It will be developed around the examination of the teacher–student relationship and how that relationship can be reorganized to promote transformative learning. The teacher–student relationship is traditionally understood as a power relation. Since transformation is predicated on personal empowerment, we will examine mechanisms for student empowerment such as Educational Choice and Choice Learning, along with their implications to classroom practice.


EDER 678.11 L04 (Winter 2022 #15109)
Understanding Transformative Learning
Transformative learning is the expansion of consciousness through the transformation of basic worldview and specific capacities of the self. It is founded on “perspective transformation” and has three dimensions: psychological, convictional, and behavioural. The term “transformative learning” often denotes some vague notions of progressive learning in educational discourse. This course will interrogate the exact meanings of transformative learning both in theory and practice. It will relate the term “transformative learning” to understandings of evolution, consciousness transformation, and perspective-taking, derived from complexity and integral thinking. The goal of the course is to establish a robust working definition of the term “transformative teaching and learning” that can facilitate more focused engagement and examination of transformative practices in education.

EDER 602 (Spring 2022 TBA)
Program and Practice Evaluation

The primary focus of the course is program evaluation rather than the assessment of individuals (for example, the measurement of student achievement or personnel review). The course focuses on developing an understanding of the logic of evaluative thinking, the nature of evaluation as a profession and discipline, the knowledge and skills needed to be expert consumers of program evaluation and novice evaluators in contexts relevant to individual career contexts. 

Year 2

Inquiring into Transformative Learning

EDER 678.xx
Challenges to Standardized Education
This course offers a more nuanced exploration of the backdrop of Transformative Learning by looking across major trends in modern schooling – specifically at how implicit theoretical commitments are manifest in it defining practices. The course begins by examining the roots of Standardized Education, which cohered in the 1600s, when public schooling was invented as a response to the cultural convulsions of industrialization, urbanization, and imperialism. That movement will be placed into conversation with other prominent educational sensibilities, including Authentic Education, Democratic Citizenship Education, and Systemic Sustainability Education.


EDER 678.xx
Transformative Learning Environments in the Disciplines
This course will take a closer look at learning environments (with particular emphases on curricula and technologies) associated with transformative learning in specific disciplines, organized for convenience according to the humanities (esp. language arts and, social studies) and STEM (esp. science, and mathematics). Participants will be asked to share their expertise in one of more subject matter areas and to analyze and discuss design of technologies that can transform learning in those areas, in order to generate ideas for ground-breaking transformative learning environments.

EDER 600
Research Methodology in Education

The course focuses on some of the issues and dilemmas that frame the context for contemporary research, and guides participants in a preliminary consideration of research strategies, questions and methods. This course includes a discussion of action research in education as a pragmatic way to integrate various methods in one school based research project. Participants will also be encouraged to approach research articles and reports with a critical perspective and develop some skills and techniques for this kind of close reading

EDER 604
Collaboratory of Practice

Collaboratory of Practice represents a fusion of two important development in contemporary research: communities of practice and collaboratories. A collaboratory is a new networked organizational form involving structured experiences of authentic, real-world practice which serve as sources of active inquiry and professional learning. This course provides opportunities for individuals or groups to investigate real world problems and to devise or recommend pragmatic solutions suitable to their contexts.


EDER 669.xx
Collective Leadership for Transformative Learning
This course will allow participants to examine various case studies of Transformative Learning in action. We will analyze examples of effective Transformative Learning that include teaching practice, school structure, and leadership. In each case, we will try to understand what qualifies the example as “transformative” and will try to extract principles of practice that may be generalized and applied in other instances. 

EDER 606
Writing Educational Research

This course will focus on examining and developing the skills associated with crafting an academic paper. Topics will include genres and purposes of academic writing, and venues for presentation and publication. An acceptable paper- whether intended for an academic or a professional audience, and whether a research report or a theoretical-philosophical argument – takes a clearly defined topic or idea, situates it in the current literature, and supports it with a well-structured discussion.

MEd students

Prospective students: how to apply

Visit our Future MEd students page for admission requirements and application details. The application period is open Nov. 1, 2020 - March 1, 2021. Please note that all students apply for admission through the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Visit our Future MEd Specialist page