A conceptual framework to investigate the role of peer learning processes at on-farm demonstrations in the light of sustainable agriculture

Hanne Cooreman, Joke Vandenabeele, Lies Debruyne, Julie Ingram, Hannah Chiswell, Alex Koutsouris, Eleni Pappa, Fleur Marchand


Peer-to-peer approaches seem promising in enhancing sustainable agricultural systems. However, the kind of learning processes that underlie peer learning approaches have not been sufficiently studied in farmer-to-farmer settings. To answer the question how peer learning processes can foster farmer learning for sustainable agriculture, we will develop empirical research tools that can give us more insight into these processes as currently occurring in on-farm demonstration settings. In this explorative paper, we explore the common ground on how to design an integrative framework of effective farmer-to-farmer learning processes at on-farm demonstrations in the light of sustainable agriculture. During the in-depth literature search, we focussed on three main subfields in scientific literature addressing effective learning processes: peer assisted learning (PAL) process model, adult learning theory and education for sustainable development (ESD). We link effective learning processes supported by these three subfields with findings from previous research on farmer-to-farmer practices. The comparison of the three subfields led to a conceptual framework with core interacting effective learning processes defined as engagement, interactive knowledge creation and initiated communication, fostering cognitive conflict and critical reflection.


On-farm demonstration, peer learning, learning processes, adult learning, education for sustainable development


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