Lifelong learning from natural disasters: transformative group-based learning at Philippine universities

Kari Kragh Blume Dahl, Christopher Malagad Millora

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11 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores reflective experience during transformative, group-based learning among university leaders following a natural disaster such as a typhoon in two Philippine universities. Natural disasters are recurrent phenomena in many parts of the world, but the literature largely ignores their impact on lifelong human learning, for instance regarding preparing the university setting for future natural disasters. The study used interviews and document analysis, drawing on a body of interrelated works in transformative learning theory, critical educational theory and conceptions about group processes and reflective practice to understand university leaders’ lifelong learning from natural disasters as experiential, transformative, reflective and group oriented. The findings document that university leaders’ reflective, transformative learning depends on individuals’ experience of natural disasters as disorienting dilemmas, and that reflection is facilitated by decisive group dynamics rather than only personal reflection. Facilitating a learning space for transformative, reflective learning in university settings might assist university leaders to enhance disaster risk preparedness, for instance through local policy change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-663
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
Issue number6
Early online date18 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Lifelong learning
  • natural disasters
  • transformative learning
  • university leaders
  • the Philippines

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