Major reform of the undergraduate degree program in the Faculty of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences at Massey University has resulted in greater emphasis being placed on developing attributes of lifelong learning in our students. Translating this particular goal into transparent educational practice in the horticulture courses required us to overturn the existing teaching paradigm. The traditional content-focused, principles first, integration second strategy of the existing horticulture curriculum was replaced at the 100 level by a new course that melded the discipline of horticulture with attributes needed for lifelong learning. Using action learning strategies, principles of horticulture were presented in context, with students encouraged to apply and analyze them in the wholeness of the discipline. Students critically reflected on their experiences through writing-to-learn exercises, class or group discussion, oral presentations, and experientially through their laboratories. By incorporating our students' experiences with these strategies, we successfully achieved our goal of the students' learning and relating theprinciples of horticulture to the whole discipline. Although the students understood our goals in engaging them in writing-to-learn and group activities, they did not appear to recognize the educational processes in which they participated throughout the course. It seems that in forming the foundation for lifelong learning in applied science, greater attention must be given to making our mental models of the education process more transparent to the students.