Paul Dervan

Presentation Details:

Transformative Learning: Passing Fad or Effective Learning Paradigm for Next Generation Learning?

Demands from industry to provide potential employees with 21st century skills (“an all rounded” graduate) are increasing. This demand from industry is adding to the pressure on Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) in Ireland and overseas to deliver on a ‘work ready’ graduate agenda. Indeed, this intense focus on ‘servicing’ industry graduate employment requirements as a key deliverable for HEIs (often mandated by their supervisory organisations) is not without its detractors. Against this backdrop, student retention and progression rates are problematic in Ireland. Given these challenges, a focus on the systematic creation and capture of transformative learning (TL) opportunities can potentially enhance the ability of HEIs to respond effectively particularly to the challenge of creating next generation work-ready graduates. But is TL fit for purpose or could it be that it is merely a passing fad? Drawing from the literature and from the author’s recent experience as a former co-lead of a TL project at TU Dublin Blanchardstown, this session will explore the role transformative learning can play in developing transversal skills in graduates particularly in a 21st century world where employers put high value on employees who demonstrate well-developed ‘soft’ skills as well as autonomous learning capabilities.


Paul retired from teaching Business Studies at TU Dublin in August 2020.

As an academic, his research centred on using technology to enhance student engagement and assessment. His work was published previously by ICEP (he won the best paper award in 2017) and by the All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE).

Paul also fostered the development of student employability skills acting as co-lead of an innovative learning initiative: Student Transformative Learning Record designed to promote and reward the development of students’ transversal skills. He continues to research the evolution of the workplace and its implications for workers.