Satisfaction of Basic Psychological Needs as Initiation of Identity Changes and Facilitation of Transformative Learning

Niels Kornum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Transformative learning (TL) research has focused on teacher interventions to induce transformations (Taylor, 2009; Illeris, 2014), while the context of learner based antecedents that fosters transformations are only sparsely examined. These antecedents have been studied in terms of basic psychological needs in self-determination theory (SDT) (Ryan and Deci, 2017). This theory has been developed in educational contexts, but not in contexts that included examinations of transforming the learners’ meaning perspectives (Mezirow, 2009). Still, understanding how differences in learner’s psychological characteristics (orientations) and how satisfying basic psychological needs foster identity changes are relevant when designing and interpreting results from transformative learning related teaching.
The findings of SDT demonstrate that satisfying basic psychological needs induce higher inclination and openness towards identity changes (Luyckx et al., 2009), which directly can be applied in TL processes. But also indirectly, because such satisfaction also enhances learner motivation, robustness and readiness (Ryan and Deci, 2017) for TL group processes, all of which facilitate TL processes. Finally, SDT research shows that it is possible to support (prime) basic psychological needs (Ryan and Deci, 2017), and thus initiate a positive process of supporting learners that are not autonomy oriented as a core personality characteristic (causality orientation).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilding Transformative Community : Enacting Possibility in Today’s Times. Proceedings
EditorsMarguerite Welch, Victoria Marsick, Dyan Holt
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTeachers College, Columbia University
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventInternational Transformation Learning Conference. ITLC 2018: Transformation in Action: The Power of Community - Columbia University, New York City, United States
Duration: 7 Nov 201810 Nov 2018
Conference number: 13


ConferenceInternational Transformation Learning Conference. ITLC 2018
LocationColumbia University
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York City
Internet address


  • Fostering transformations
  • Psychological openness and robustness towards identity development
  • Satisfying basic psychological needs

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