Social Learning

Day 2
14:00 - 15:30
Dagu Room
Conveners: Carl Jackson (Westhill Knowledge), Pete Cranston (Euforic Services)
Process coach: S Fisher Qua (Back Loop), Ewen Le Borgne (ILRI)

Outline of the session

Objective
To explore processes that can move agriculture and rural development work onto the third transformational social learning loop. To dig into the opportunities and risks of doing so .

Content
The Social Learning session will include discussions of facilitated learning processes (e.g. in research, program design, evaluation, consultation) that highlight the extent of our knowledge of and capacities for supporting transformational change (i.e. at the level of organisations, networks and society).

Purpose:
Learning is an explicit objective of many process orientated approaches to doing development better (e.g. participation, action research, innovation systems, communities of practice, etc) and social learning shares many features with them. However, learning can often feel too limited to questions within the scope of pre-determined goals about efficiency (i.e. asking Are we doing things right?) and effectiveness (i.e. asking Are we doing the right things) . Social learning expands learning to potentially challenge the institutional arrangements (e.g. values, beliefs, governance) that set goals by asking How do we decide what is right?. This third loop of learning can support transformational change, but in the process and outcome of doing so often engages with power (i.e. those organisations, groups and individuals who benefit most from existing institutional arrangements).

Therefore as process designers and facilitators supporting transformational change we need to share our knowledge of and build our capacities for navigating the opportunities and risks of challenging institutions when using social learning approaches. We need to be good at this for ourselves, but moreover for the co-learners we encourage to engage in change.

Outputs / Products: What are the outputs and how will we know we've achieved them?
From this session we will share with other Process Share Fair participants and viewers:
  • Five ways to fail to engage safely with power when designing and facilitating learning
  • Capacities for designing and facilitating learning that feeds back on the values, beliefs and governance that set development goals

Detailed session outline:
14:05 - 14:15 Social Learning What Why How - CCAFS and other examples
  • Introduction to the work of the CCSL project, using a poster and working paper(s), showing online spaces

14:15 - 14:20 Invitation to reflect on and discuss supporting transformational change through facilitated learning processes

14:20 - 15:00 Connecting with each other by gathering ideas and examples of all possible ways of failing to engage safely with power as designers and facilitators of learning processes that (consciously or unintentionally) promoted transformational change. Three rapid conversations to:
  • Make a list of all you can do to make sure that you fail to engage safely with power when designing and facilitating learning processes
    1 minute individual reflection; 2 minutes with your neighbour; 4 minutes with your group; 5 minutes with all
  • Make a second list of all the things you currently do that resemble things you've identified in list one
    1 minute individual reflection; 2 minutes with your neighbour; 4 minutes with your group
  • Make a final list of fist steps you can take that will help to stop the unwanted activities / behaviours you currently have (e.g. capacities to build, methods to adopt)
    1 minute individual reflection; 2 minutes with your neighbour; 4 minutes with your group; 5 minutes with all

15:00 - 15:30 Reflecting on what message from our discussions we want to share with others
  • Whole group brainstorm from the first steps and any other insights with post-it notes, cluster and take ownership