Category: Theory

Design Thinking and Innovation

Design thinking is a five step method for innovating to solve complex (“wicked”) problems and is being used successfully in agricultural extension. It approaches challenges by understanding the needs of users and then developing insights to meet those needs. It proposes that only by contact, observation and empathy with end […]

Stimulating Private Sector Extension in Australian Agriculture to Increase Returns from Research and Development

This ground-breaking project is providing valuable research information and professional development modules to inform and build the capacity of the extension sector in Australia.  A key output is the development of eight professional development modules for early and mid-career advisors and extension professionals:

Social media in agriculture innovation
Targeting farmers? Segmentation and […]

Action Learning

(Image source, Wendy Brooks, 2016)
Action Learning is a theory and process developed by Professor Reg Revans (Revans, 1982). It is an excellent tool and process for Extension Professionals to facilitate groups (Action Learning “sets”) to tackle key problems or tasks that are complex in nature and don’t already have a solution. “Action […]


The Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) is the premier professional organisation for extension workers and those interested in extension in the Australasia-Pacific region.
Four hundred Extension Professionals are part of the network and the APEN website is here
APEN provides a range of networking and professional development opportunities for Extension Professionals. They […]

What is Extension?

Extension is the practice of transferring information, knowledge or skills that can assist individuals, families, communities, organisations or businesses achieve improved economic, social and environmental outcomes and create positive change. This article provides a brief history of Extension in Australia.
Agricultural extension is as old as the domestication of plants and […]

Experiential Learning

David Kolb synthesised three models to develop key characteristics of experiential learning.
1)    The Lewinian Model
2)    The Dewey Model, and
3)    The Piaget Model
The Lewinian Model of Action Research and Laboratory Training believes learning is an integrated process involving a feedback loop amongst concrete experiences, observations and reflections, formation of abstract concepts […]

Participatory Research, Development and Extension – Sustainable Agriculture

Developed in the 1980s-1990s, Niels Roling argues for sustainable agricultural development practice (RD&E) to involve farmers in the R&D process as collaborators and driving the RD&E agenda, rather than simply being the end-users (i.e. A shift from a directive approach to participatory extension). Otherwise, Roling believed, there will be little change […]

Extension Continuum

The extension continuum recognises that there are four major strategies or models in agricultural extension. It illustrates that as extension situations become more complex, emphasis should be given to approaches, processes and tools that empower people to engage in ongoing processes of experimentation, learning and human development.  
It recognises that there […]

Programmed Learning Model

Programmed Learning is essentially about formal or ‘packaged’ education opportunities that are positioned beyond informal learning that is often based on existing knowledge and experiences of individuals or bounded within a certain group.  (Coutts et al., 2005).  Programmed learning can be a formal qualification delivered by a Registered Training Organisation […]

Extension as Communications

Improving food production and fostering economic development is not just a matter of individuals receiving messages and adopting the ‘right’ technologies, but more to do with altering interdependencies and coordinating the different actor roles. Societal issues arise from multiple localities and at various points in time and bring about a […]