Conceptual and operational understanding of learning for sustainability: a case study of the beef industry in north-eastern Australia

Lankester, Ally J. (2013) Conceptual and operational understanding of learning for sustainability: a case study of the beef industry in north-eastern Australia. Journal of Environmental Management, 119. pp. 182-193.

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Extensive attention has been given to understanding learning processes that foster sustainability. Despite this focus there is still limited knowledge of learning processes that create changes in perspectives and practices. This paper aims to increase understanding of learning processes in the context of sustainability and refers to the beef industry in north-eastern Australia. A framework based on adult learning theories was developed and used to analyse the what, why and how of beef producers' learning to improve land condition. Twenty-eight producers were interviewed face-to-face and another 91 participated in a telephone survey. Most beef producers were motivated to learn due to perceived problems with existing practices and described mainly learning new skills and techniques to improve production. Beef producers main learning sources were their own experiences, observing others' practices and sharing experiences with peers and family members. Results showed that organised collective learning, adversity and active experimentation with natural resource management skills and techniques can facilitate critical reflection of practices, questioning of the self, others and cultural norms and an enhanced sense of environmental responsibility.

Item ID: 29081
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8630
Keywords: experiential learning; transformative learning; natural resource management; extension; farmer; social learning
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2013 02:44
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 33%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development @ 33%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 34%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 33%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 33%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management @ 34%
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