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Learning hard or hardly learning? : exploring processes of experiential, transformative and social learning in an urban living lab

Mccrory, Gavin LU (2016) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20161
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Cities will contain 70% of global populations by 2050, signalling the need to pursue solution-oriented approaches for sustainability challenges. Urban Living Labs are emerging as solution-based interventions, and share commonalities with efforts of sustainability science to broaden research for societal change alongside various actor sets. Currently there is a recognised lack of dedicated research that explores learning as a process between context specific and diverse sets of actors in an ULL. Through a literature review, I argue that current ULL research approaches learning inconsistently and without conceptual rigour. Whilst it is not in question that learning can be considered inherently desirable in achieving transformation, there is... (More)
Cities will contain 70% of global populations by 2050, signalling the need to pursue solution-oriented approaches for sustainability challenges. Urban Living Labs are emerging as solution-based interventions, and share commonalities with efforts of sustainability science to broaden research for societal change alongside various actor sets. Currently there is a recognised lack of dedicated research that explores learning as a process between context specific and diverse sets of actors in an ULL. Through a literature review, I argue that current ULL research approaches learning inconsistently and without conceptual rigour. Whilst it is not in question that learning can be considered inherently desirable in achieving transformation, there is recognition that thorough commitment on a case-based level is lacking. This paper builds upon this recognition and explores processes that characterise multi-actor learning using a qualitative case-study approach. The Goldmine is an ULL that aims to foster and physically situate user-driven innovation with an explicit focus on experimentation and learning. I conducted semi-structured personal and email interviews in the Goldmine, and employed a predominantly deductive interpretation of experiential, transformative and social learning types. This thesis highlights that the Goldmine facilitates iterative processes of experiential learning, however its extent varies within and across actor sets. One core determinant is the place-based nature of learning-by-doing. Instrumental competencies for transformative learning of Gold-diggers are fostered due to the start-up environment and project development phase, however problem-perspectives have no avenue for discourse. The Goldmine functions as a hub with several aims, official and unofficial. Gold-digger experiences compliment official aims; in theory, social learning is a goal that the municipality has intended to foster. This is operationalised through workshops, meetings, collaboration and diverse skill-sets. Levels of understanding and contesting problem-perspectives are bounded determinants that influence the degree of social learning in the Goldmine. As a result of voluntary participation, and unplanned Gold-digger selection, the Goldmine suffers from disproportionate diversity with a variety of unintended consequences. There is confusion within and across actor-sets, which is influenced by the expectations, visions and motivations of different actors. The role of reflection in the Goldmine has not been formalised, which carries implications for evaluation, contesting perspectives, and advancing transformative learning. This extends across all learning types. By combining experiential, transformative and social learning types, this research advances understanding of intra-lab learning. Further, it provides a platform for broadening or deepening approaches to learning in ULLs. (Less)
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author
Mccrory, Gavin LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
transformative learning, social learning, experiential learning, sustainability science, urban living labs, urban experimentation
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2016:027
language
English
id
8881203
date added to LUP
2016-06-16 10:46:26
date last changed
2016-06-16 10:46:26
@misc{8881203,
  abstract     = {Cities will contain 70% of global populations by 2050, signalling the need to pursue solution-oriented approaches for sustainability challenges. Urban Living Labs are emerging as solution-based interventions, and share commonalities with efforts of sustainability science to broaden research for societal change alongside various actor sets. Currently there is a recognised lack of dedicated research that explores learning as a process between context specific and diverse sets of actors in an ULL. Through a literature review, I argue that current ULL research approaches learning inconsistently and without conceptual rigour. Whilst it is not in question that learning can be considered inherently desirable in achieving transformation, there is recognition that thorough commitment on a case-based level is lacking. This paper builds upon this recognition and explores processes that characterise multi-actor learning using a qualitative case-study approach. The Goldmine is an ULL that aims to foster and physically situate user-driven innovation with an explicit focus on experimentation and learning. I conducted semi-structured personal and email interviews in the Goldmine, and employed a predominantly deductive interpretation of experiential, transformative and social learning types. This thesis highlights that the Goldmine facilitates iterative processes of experiential learning, however its extent varies within and across actor sets. One core determinant is the place-based nature of learning-by-doing. Instrumental competencies for transformative learning of Gold-diggers are fostered due to the start-up environment and project development phase, however problem-perspectives have no avenue for discourse. The Goldmine functions as a hub with several aims, official and unofficial. Gold-digger experiences compliment official aims; in theory, social learning is a goal that the municipality has intended to foster. This is operationalised through workshops, meetings, collaboration and diverse skill-sets. Levels of understanding and contesting problem-perspectives are bounded determinants that influence the degree of social learning in the Goldmine. As a result of voluntary participation, and unplanned Gold-digger selection, the Goldmine suffers from disproportionate diversity with a variety of unintended consequences. There is confusion within and across actor-sets, which is influenced by the expectations, visions and motivations of different actors. The role of reflection in the Goldmine has not been formalised, which carries implications for evaluation, contesting perspectives, and advancing transformative learning. This extends across all learning types. By combining experiential, transformative and social learning types, this research advances understanding of intra-lab learning. Further, it provides a platform for broadening or deepening approaches to learning in ULLs.},
  author       = {Mccrory, Gavin},
  keyword      = {transformative learning,social learning,experiential learning,sustainability science,urban living labs,urban experimentation},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Learning hard or hardly learning? : exploring processes of experiential, transformative and social learning in an urban living lab},
  year         = {2016},
}