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Ontological Learning 

what is ontological learning

Ontology is the exploration of what is real, what is the nature of reality. Ontology is the study of being, the being in human. We study how humans perceive and interpret the world, we explore human behaviors and what drives those behaviors. When we learn about how we are being, this is called ontological learning. Some refer to this type of learning as transformational learning. 


Transformational learning is the process of deep, constructive, and meaningful learning that goes beyond simple knowledge acquisition and supports critical ways in which learners consciously make meaning of their lives. Transformational learning produces a fundamental change in our worldview as a consequence of reorienting ourselves from mindless or unquestioning acceptance of available information to reflective and conscious learning experiences that bring about true independence. As Mezirov (2000) puts it, transformational learning is one’s becoming critically aware of unconscious assumptions/expectations and assessing their relevance for making an interpretation.

Transformational learning consistently leads to profound changes in our thoughts, feelings, perspectives, beliefs, and behaviors because it is a radical shift of consciousness that permanently alters our way of being in the world. 

As part of learning about our ways of being, we question what we say we know. We inquire into knowledge and what types of knowledge there are. This is called the study of epistemology

We also study cosmology and cosmology is the study of how the universe actually works versus how we think it works. Think physics and astronomy, the living actuality. 


the ontological approach

The essence of an ontological approach to life, learning and leadership is about becoming a different and more powerful Observer. The meaning of power in this context is the ability to take more effective action in both our inner-worlds and outer-worlds in order to live a more mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually enriched life, in which we can contribute more to others and the betterment of the world.


We can only, with intentionality, participate in a world that we observe and how we observe is generated from our Way of Being. The ontological approach focuses on the potential for transforming our Way of Being, which includes its expansion and deepening, as a path to participating in a more meaningful and fulfilling manner in everyday life.

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