First Advisor

Pugh, Kevin

Second Advisor

Bergstrom, Cassendra

Document Type


Date Created



Learning in adulthood should be a meaningful experience through which adult learners are able to re-examine their values and beliefs acquired over the years. Mezirow (1978a, 1978b) stated that learners’ engagement with this process of reflection and making meaning leads to a change in one’s perspective. To facilitate such a transformational learning experience, adult education scholars explored various pedagogical approaches that cultivates environments conducive to transformative learning, among which are art-based pedagogies. Photovoice is an art-based pedagogy that utilizes photography and storytelling to foster critical reflection and increase learners’ critical awareness. To date, investigating the transformative affordances of photovoice pedagogy to foster personal transformation as defined by Mezirow among undergraduate students has been overlooked. Photovoice is a visual qualitative research method developed by Wang and Burris (1994) then it made its way to the classroom as an art-based pedagogy. Theoretically, it intersects with the underlying premise of transformative learning theory. However, no explicit connections between the two models have been established in the extant literature. Thus, this dissertation had both theoretical and empirical goals. The dissertation followed the alternative format of developing two manuscripts. The first manuscript focused on theoretically establishing photovoice as a transformative pedagogy through explicitly stating the transformative affordances of the pedagogical approach. To elaborate, I discussed the current models of transformative pedagogy in the extant literature and their intersection with photovoice pedagogy. I proposed a pedagogical model framing photovoice as a transformative pedagogy by expanding on the previous transformative pedagogical models and explaining the unique aspect photovoice pedagogy holds as an art-based approach to foster both transformative learning and aesthetics. The second manuscript reported the outcome of a mixed method case study. Through utilizing an embedded case study approach that was primarily a visual qualitative investigation with a secondary quantitative component, the study explored the transformative affordances of implementing photovoice pedagogical intervention among undergraduate students in a developmental psychology course. A second goal of the study was to explore students’ perceptions and experiences with the photovoice intervention. The data collection entailed both qualitative (photovoice interviews) and quantitative (post-intervention surveys) aspects. A total of 46 participants participated in the quantitative aspect of the study and a subsequent sample of 11 participants volunteered for the qualitative interviews. Both the quantitative and qualitative data were integrated and a photovoice transformative pedagogical model emerged from the data, explaining the process and the outcome of the participants’ transformative journey. Data were analyzed through the theoretical lens of transformative learning (Mezirow,1978a, 1978b) and transformative experience (Pugh, 2011). The outcome of this dissertation added to the current literature of both transformative learning and photovoice pedagogy. Framing photovoice as a transformative pedagogy added value to existing approaches that have been investigated empirically. The outcome of the embedded case study provided empirical evidence of the potential transformative affordances of photovoice pedagogy, especially in psychology courses. Finally, as photovoice methodology entails, there should be practical outcomes to share with the target community. In the case of this study, the target community was adult educators. I concluded the dissertation by providing practical recommendations for adult educators to facilitate fostering transformative learning in their classrooms.


189 pages

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Copyright is held by the author.