From Practice to Theory: Participation as Learning in the Context of Sustainable Development Projects

Vare, Paul ORCID: 0000-0003-3182-9105 (2008) From Practice to Theory: Participation as Learning in the Context of Sustainable Development Projects. In: Participation and Learning: Perspectives on Education and the Environment, Health and Sustainability. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 128-143. ISBN 978-1-4020-6415-9

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This chapter starts with an autobiographical account of my experience of creating communication programmes within sustainable development projects in rural Africa. It charts the evolution of a participatory approach before turning to investigations into the way people learn in such settings. I then apply the resulting view of learning as a complex process of dialogue primarily relying on known and trusted sources to other rural communication programmes. Noting that accounts of these projects have largely relied on empirical evidence, the second part of the chapter represents a search for appropriate theoretical underpinning. I show that the concepts of zone of proximal development (ZPD) and legitimate peripheral participation are relevant to the project experience, while possible limitations in these approaches are tackled by the application of cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT). In conclusion, I note that the principles of situated learning and activity theory resonate strongly with real-world examples of education for sustainable development and suggest that although hitherto separate, they might become more closely aligned – albeit with a few words of caution.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Chapter 8.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Paul Vare
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2019 15:28
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:43

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