|dc.description.abstract||Over four decades of transformative-learning (TL) research, theorists have steadily called for the design of a quantitative instrument capturing the central tenants of individual transformation. The aim of this study is to introduce the Triggering Incident Student Survey (TISS) as a means to explore incidents experienced by learners that trigger reflective processes during a semester of study. The TISS was designed in the spirit of a post-positivist paradigm to evaluate central variables of TL, namely, triggers, emotions, forms of reflection, dialogue with important social actors and elicit demographic information on age, level of study, gender and cultural background. Data were gathered from 333 individuals on two occasions. With the data, and consistent with ideas in the TL literature, structural relationships were estimated to see if emotions mediated the influence of triggers on reflective ability or acted to disrupt that influence entirely. Further, again in line with the literature, structural models were established to test if dialogue with social actors facilitate transformation and if affection and cognition displayed reciprocal relations that is, there existed feedback between the constructs. This study has special relevance in hospitality education with its mix of practical, theoretical and internship elements and is unique in that no evidence exists as to what transforms individual learners within and outside of the classroom in the discipline of hospitality. Given the calls in the TL literature for quantitative studies and the criticisms of those that exist, the current study fills a substantial gap in the literature.
Data were gathered reliably and validly. Using the data it has been shown that among those studying hospitality, failures and personal dilemmas have effects on thinking processes, either directly or via positive and negative emotions. Differences between central variables were additionally dependent to varying degree on age, status, gender and culture and evidence was provided that learners seek varying interactions with students, friends and family during transformational processes. TISS findings also suggested that the relationships between positive emotions and cognitive reflection are reciprocal and mutually reinforcing.
A substantial contribution in this research arises from the testing of a quantitative instrument that overcomes criticisms in the literature of other surveys. Another substantial outcome is the setting of a robust analytical framework that can be exploited by TL theorists, practitioners and future researchers to further examine the central variables in studies of transformation in other disciplines, other educational contexts and other types of students