Applying a transformative learning framework to volunteer tourism

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Title Applying a transformative learning framework to volunteer tourism
Author Coghlan, Alexandra; Gooch, Margaret
Journal Name Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Year Published 2011
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Abstract This paper applies the educational theory of transformative learning to reconceptualising the practices of volunteer tourism. The theory of transformative learning posits a 10-step process to experience a radical shift in consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters how participants see their place in the world. Volunteer tourism has commonly been seen as a form of alternative tourism that provides a cathartic experience for the volunteer tourists and benefits to the hosting organisation and the natural and/or social environment of the project. Existing research suggests that these outcomes have not, as yet, been achieved by current practices in this sector. In referring to the theory of transformative learning we note that some, but not all, of the 10 steps have been applied and that we might therefore expect volunteer tourism to fall short of its promises. We conclude that the theory of transformative learning offers a useful framework for volunteer tourism, providing insights into the need to create opportunities for participants to complete the transformative process. We suggest that volunteer tourism organisations redesign their activities to include the remaining steps of transformative learning to improve their product for both the tourists and the sustainability outcomes of the projects.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
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Copyright Statement Copyright 2011 Taylor & Francis. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Volume 19
Issue Number 6
Page from 713
Page to 728
ISSN 0966-9582
Date Accessioned 2011-07-27
Language en_US
Research Centre Griffith Institute For Tourism
Faculty Faculty of Science, Environment, Engineering and Technology
Subject Tourism Resource Appraisal
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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