Blackmore, Chris; Cerf, Marianne; Ison, Raymond and Paine, Mark
(2012). The role of action-oriented learning theories for change in agriculture and rural networks.
In: Darnhofer, Ika; Gibbon, David and Dedieu, Benoit eds.
Farming Systems Research into the 21st Century: The New Dynamic.
Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 159–177.
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Links between learning theories, action and practice are explored in order to focus on the idea of action-oriented learning theories. The nature of learning theories is examined and their role in changing practices associated with issues of food and farming systems or resource management. Levels and cycles are distinguished as key dimensions of learning theories that can be used in designing learning programmes using individual or group based approaches. The relationship between learning, change and practice is considered and which kinds of learning theory might be used in different situations in which issues of change are to be addressed. Examples are provided from the European LEARNing project. Difficulties are revealed in whether and how ‘learning researchers’ make explicit their theoretical perspectives in relation to issues of learning and change in given situations. A conceptual framework is therefore developed, intended to be used as a heuristic device to support researchers in reviewing their perspectives.
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