Experiences of learning.

  • Gillian Robertson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Do we learn, develop and change in the course of our everyday lives? - and how? Founded on a belief that we have the ability to direct our lives and to learn from our experiences, 'Experiences of Learning' tells of a personal attempt to explore the nature of the process of personal development as we perceive it, individually and in general, in our adult 1ives. Adopting a view that our experiences are characterised by paradox, I have sought to explore the questions: 'How do we develop and yet never find our development completed. How do we change and yet experience constancy in our lives and identities.' - only to find in conclusion that the dialectic is less a case of constancy emerging through change, than of change emerging through constancy. 'Experiences of Learning' also explores the theme of learning through inquiry, through the development of a methodology incorporating participative and group learning methods of experiential learning and discovery, in a general context of phenomenological investigation and qualitative analysis. Questions addressed in the methodology include: 'How can we develop a theory together that is truly grounded in the experiences of those whom it purports to describe. What is the involvement of the researcher(s). How can research engage its participants in an inquiry that is genuinely meaningful to them, in an experience of learning.' The thesis traces the course of inquiry through the design and evaluation of two major empirical projects, each involving group workshops and individual interviews, and the development of a detailed profile of each participant, and culminates in the development of a theory of learning and change in adult life. It also traces the development of the third theme of learning appearing through inquiry, the personal learning experienced by the researcher who undertakes such a venture.
Date of Award1984
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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