Title
What is social learning?
Description
Social learning is increasingly becoming a normative goal in natural resource management and policy. However, there remains little consensus over its meaning or theoretical basis. There are still considerable differences in understanding of the concept in the literature, including a number of articles published in Ecology & Society. Social learning is often conflated with other concepts such as participation and proenvironmental behavior, and there is often little distinction made between individual and wider social learning. Many unsubstantiated claims for social learning exist, and there is frequently confusion between the concept itself and its potential outcomes. This lack of conceptual clarity has limited our capacity to assess whether social learning has occurred, and if so, what kind of learning has taken place, to what extent, between whom, when, and how. This response attempts to provide greater clarity on the conceptual basis for social learning. We argue that to be considered social learning, a process must: (1) demonstrate that a change in understanding has taken place in the individuals involved; (2) demonstrate that this change goes beyond the individual and becomes situated within wider social units or communities of practice; and (3) occur through social interactions and processes between actors within a social network. A clearer picture of what we mean by social learning could enhance our ability to critically evaluate outcomes and better understand the processes through which social learning occurs. In this way, it may be possible to better facilitate the desired outcomes of social learning processes.
URL
http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss4/resp1/
Language
English
Author
Mark Reed
Co-author
Christina Prell
Co-author
Lindsay Stringer
Co-author
Chris Raymond
Co-author
Ioan Fazey
Co-author
Georgina Cundill
Co-author
Adele Laing
Co-author
Brad Parrish
Co-author
Jens Newig
Co-author
Jayne Glass
Co-author
Anna Evely
Volume number
15
Issue number
4
Is this item peer reviewed?
Yes
ISSN
1708-3087
Publisher
Resilience Alliance
Date of publication
08 March 2010
Number of pages
10
Page reference
r1
Has non-academic co-authors?
No
Has international co-authors?
Yes
For non-academic audience?
No
Is this item a pre-print or post-print?
Post-print
Title of journal
Ecology and Society