ICTs for Learning in the Field of Rural Communication

  • Rico LieEmail author
  • Loes Witteveen
Living reference work entry


This contribution surveys learning approaches in the field of agricultural extension, agricultural advisory services, and rural communication and explores their relationships with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). It makes a distinction between theory-based approaches to learning and design-based approaches to learning. The reviewed theory-based approaches are social learning, experiential learning, collaborative learning, and transformative learning and the design-based approaches are visual learning, intercultural learning, and distance learning. The choice for surveying these specific approaches is based on the relevance that these approaches have for the field of agricultural extension, agricultural advisory services, and rural communication. It is concluded that learning itself is to be seen as social and behavioral change and that the group is much valued in existing learning processes. Furthermore, experiences and reflections are central elements in all reviewed learning processes, and the visual and the cultural play crucial roles.


Learning ICTs agricultural extension agricultural advisory services rural communication 


  1. Ahmed N, Ballard A, Ohkubo S, Limaye R (2017) Global Health eLearning: examining the effects of blended learning models on knowledge application and retention. Johns Hopkins University, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  2. Anandajayasekeram P, Davis KE, Workneh S (2007) Farmer field schools: an alternative to existing extension systems? Experience from eastern and southern Africa. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education 14:81–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson JA (1988) Cognitive styles and multicultural populations. J Teach Educ 39(1):2–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson LW, Krathwohl DR, Airasian PW, Cruikshank KA, Mayer RE, Pintrich PR, Wittrock MC (2001) A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: a revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives, abridged edition. Longman, White PlainsGoogle Scholar
  5. Argyris C, Schön DA (1978) Organizational learning: a theory of action perspective. Addison-Wesley, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  6. Bandura A (1963) Social learning and personality development. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Bandura A (1977) Social learning theory. Prentice-Hall, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. BBC Media Action (2005) How radio and distance learning built skills and knowledge for cocoa farmers. BBC Media Action, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Beck U, Giddens A, Lash S (1994) Reflexive modernization: politics, tradition and aesthetics in the modern social order. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  10. Beers PJ, Van Mierlo B, Hoes A-C (2016) Toward an integrative perspective on social learning in system innovation initiatives. Ecol Soc 21(1):33. Scholar
  11. Bentley JW, Boa E, Salm M (2016) A passion for video: 25 stories about making, translating, sharing and using videos on farmer innovation. Access Agriculture and CTA, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  12. Bentley JW, Van Mele P, Harun-Ar-Rashid M, Krupnik TJ (2015) Distributing and showing farmer learning videos in Bangladesh. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension 22:179–197. Scholar
  13. Boud D, Keogh R, Walker D (eds) (1985) Reflection. Turning experience into learning. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Braun A, Duveskog D (2008) The Farmer Field School approach – History, global assessment and success stories. Background paper for the IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011Google Scholar
  15. Chambers R (1993) Challenging the professions: frontiers for rural development. Intermediate Technology Publications, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chowdhury AH, Van Mele P, Hauser M (2011) Contribution of farmer-to-farmer video to capital assets building: evidence from Bangladesh. J Sustain Agric 35:408–435. Scholar
  17. Elzen B, Augustyn A, Barbier M, Van Mierlo B (2017) Agroecological transitions: changes and breakthroughs in the making. Scholar
  18. FAO and World Bank (2000) Agricultural knowledge and information systems for rural development (AKIS/RD). Strategic vision and guiding principles. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  19. Fleming N, Baume D (2006) Learning styles again: VARKing up the right tree! Educational Developments 7(4):4–7Google Scholar
  20. Howie P, Bagnall R (2013) A beautiful metaphor: transformative learning theory. Int J Lifelong Educ 32(6):816–836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Johnson DW, Johnson RT, Holubec EJ (2008) Cooperation in the classroom, 8th edn. Interaction, EdinaGoogle Scholar
  22. Karubanga G, Kibwika P, Okry F, Sseguya H (2017) How farmer videos trigger social learning to enhance innovation among smallholder rice farmers in Uganda. Cogent Food & Agriculture.
  23. Kelly N, McLean Bennett J, Starasts A (2017) Networked learning for agricultural extension: a framework for analysis and two cases. J Agric Educ Ext 23(5):399–414. Scholar
  24. Klerkx L, Aarts N, Leeuwis C (2010) Adaptive management in agricultural innovation systems: the interactions between innovation networks and their environment. Agric Syst 103(6):390–400. Scholar
  25. Kolb D (1984) Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development. Prentice-Hall International, Hemel HempsteadGoogle Scholar
  26. Laal M, Laal M (2011) Collaborative learning: what is it? Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 31:491–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leeuwis C, Aarts N (2011) Rethinking communication in innovation processes: creating space for change in complex systems. J Agric Educ Ext 17(1):21–36. Scholar
  28. Leeuwis C, Pyburn R (eds) (2002) Wheelbarrows full of frogs: social learning in rural resource management. Koninklijke Van Gorcum, AssenGoogle Scholar
  29. Lie, R., & Mandler, A. (2009). Video in development. Filming for rural change, Wageningen/Rome: CTA/FAOGoogle Scholar
  30. Lie R, Servaes J (2015) Disciplines in the field of communication for development and social change. Commun Theory. Scholar
  31. Lie R, Witteveen L (2013) Spaces of intercultural learning. In: Mertens S (ed) International perspectives on journalism (internationale perspectieven op journalistiek). Academia Press, Gent, pp. 19–34Google Scholar
  32. Mezirow J (1978) Perspective transformation. Adult Educ Q 28:100–110. Scholar
  33. Mezirow J (1990) How critical reflection triggers transformative learning. Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood 1:20Google Scholar
  34. Mezirow J (1991) Transformative dimensions of adult learning. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  35. Mezirow J (2009) Transformative learning theory. In: Taylor EW, Mezirow J (eds) Transformative learning in practice: insights from community, workplace, and higher education. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  36. Moris J (1991) Extension alternatives in tropical Africa. Overseas Development Institute, LondonGoogle Scholar
  37. Pahl-Wostl C (2006) The importance of social learning in restoring the multifunctionality of rivers and floodplains. Ecol Soc 11(1):10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Percy R (2005) The contribution of transformative learning theory to the practice of participatory research and extension: theoretical reflections. Agric Hum Values 22(2):127–136. Scholar
  39. Pratish KM (2006) Visual communication beyond word. GNOSIS, DelhiGoogle Scholar
  40. Pretty JN, Chambers R (1993) Towards a learning paradigm: new professionalism and institutions for agriculture. Institute of Development Studies, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  41. Reijntjes C, Haverkort B, Waters-Bayer A (1992) Farming for the future. An introduction to low-external-input and sustainable agriculture. Macmillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  42. Röling NG (1988) Extension science: information systems in agricultural development. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  43. Röling NG (1989) The agricultural research-technology transfer interface: a knowledge system perspective. International Service for National Agricultural Research, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  44. Röling NG, Wagemakers MAE (1998) Facilitating sustainable agriculture: participatory learning and adaptive management in times of environmental uncertainty. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  45. Schramm W, Nelson LM, Betham MT (1981) Bold experiment: the story of educational television in American Samoa. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  46. Smith E (2017) Transformative learning theory (Mezirow), in Learning Theories, September 30, 2017.
  47. Smith MK (2010) ‘David A. Kolb on experiential learning’, the encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved 13 July 2018
  48. Stilgoe J, Owen R, Macnaghten P (2013) Developing a framework for responsible innovation. Res Policy 42(9):1568–1580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Taylor EW, Duveskog D, Friis-Hansen E (2012) Fostering transformative learning in non-formal settings: farmer-field schools in East Africa. Int J Lifelong Educ 31(6):725–742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. UNESCO (2009) UNESCO world report. Investing in cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar
  51. Van de Fliert E (1993) Integrated pest management: Farmer field schools generate sustainable practices. A case study in Central Java evaluating IPM training. Published doctoral thesis, Wageningen University, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  52. Van Mierlo B, Leeuwis C, Smits R, Woolthuis RK (2010) Learning towards system innovation: evaluating a systemic instrument. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 77(2):318–334. Scholar
  53. Wals AEJ (ed) (2007) Social learning towards a sustainable world. Wageningen Academic Publishers, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  54. Witteveen LM (2009) The voice of the visual: visual learning strategies for problem analysis, social dialogue and mediated participation. Eburon Uitgeverij BVGoogle Scholar
  55. Witteveen LM, Goris M, Lie R, Ingram VJ (2016) Kusheh na minem Fatu, en mi na koko farmer, Hello, I am Fatu and I am a cocoa farmer; A Digital Farmer Field School for training in cocoa production and certification in Sierra Leone, Science Shop report 330. Wageningen UR, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  56. Witteveen L, Lie R (2012) Learning about “wicked” problems in the global south. Creating a film-based learning environment with “visual problem appraisal”. J Media Comm Res 52:81–99Google Scholar
  57. Witteveen L, Lie R (2018) Visual Problem Appraisal. An educational package, which uses filmed narratives. In: Griffith S, Bliemel M. Carruthers K (eds) Visual tools for developing student capacity for cross-disciplinary collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. A. Rourke and V. Rees (Series Curators), Transformative Pedagogies in the Visual Domain: Book No. 6. Common Ground Research Networks, ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  58. Witteveen L, Lie R, Goris M, Ingram V (2017) Design and development of a digital farmer field school. Experiences with a digital learning environment for cocoa production and certification in Sierra Leone. Telematics Inform. Scholar
  59. Wyckhuys KAG, Bentley JW, Lie R, Nghiem LTP, Fredrix M (2017) Maximizing farm-level uptake and diffusion of biological control innovations in today’s digital era. BioControl 1–16. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Group Knowledge, Technology and InnovationWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Research Group Communication, Participation & Social Ecological LearningVan Hall Larenstein University of Applied SciencesVelpThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Research Group Environmental PolicyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations