Traces of transformations: dilemmas as learning resources and drivers for transformation?
The authors present a journey into participatory research in adult literacy education on the example of a research project and the Forschungskurs Lernen, a participatory research seminar on learning. This project was based on critical and emancipatory approaches in adult education and on community-based participatory research approaches. The research group consisted of adult literacy learners, adult education professionals of three Austrian providers and university-based adult education researchers. Purpose and scope of the pilot project was to jointly learn how to conduct and establish a participatory research project in adult literacy education together as a research group. Those learnings serve as a groundwork for a larger participatory research project, which is currently in the planning stages. Participatory research asks for a learning theory that is able to explain and analyse transformations of individuals and collectives through and within learning processes, as provided by the Transformative Learning Theory. Participatory research is understood as a space of joint learning and acting and can thereby facilitate transformative learning. The authors share considerations on pedagogical and andragogical learning theories interrogating transformative processes and on methodological challenges connected with participatory approaches and the Forschungskurs Lernen in particular: results on the feasibility are presented and learnings for participatory projects are discussed. The authors aim at provoking movements in thinking, using a dialectical approach towards project-generated dilemmas. By doing this, disorienting dilemmas are reflected as learning resources and possible drivers for transformation on individual and collective levels (researchers, providers, governance, scientific community and society).
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