The New Advisers project, funded under the Leonardo da Vinci programme, was designed to help the 5,000-plus advisers and trainers involved in agricultural and environmental issues in Europe.
The project defined and has helped to transfer effective methods for use in agronomy, recognising that advisers and trainers are experiencing a blurring of their professional identity. Advisers, the project noted, need to continually update their knowledge, develop a systemic approach to farming, and separate the administrative from the relational requirements.
The project focused on improving professionalisation and adaptability in the job and field-tested three particularly useful methods for involving farmers in the co-construction of responses to problems and for co-innovation.
The videos below provide more details on these methods. They start with a video explaining how to understand the situation and problem, before exploring the methods in more detail:
1. Clear vision is used in France with the aim of discovering the whole farm. Even if the question or difficulty appears very technical and short-term, an effort is made to place it in a broader context, considering environmental, structural and organisational aspects: the ambitions or plans of the farmer, constraints and opportunities, economic and regulatory issues, decision-making and financing, and the quality and use of equipment. Over the course of a short interview (two or three hours), the vision of the farmer is gathered. The adviser structures this vision and proposes an action plan to gradually deepen the key issues for improving practices or finding new systems solutions using the same techniques.
2. Problem-based learning is a method which involves learners as part of a collective. It is used in agricultural schools in Sweden and New Advisers has tested it for training advisers or farmers. From the description, sometimes very brief, of a ‘problem situation’, a small group (four to six people) reformulates the problem, organises the research for the information needed to solve it and presents feedback which clarifies both the responses to the problem and the ‘learning path’ taken. To be successfully completed, problem-based learning involves being supervised by an experienced trainer who is both attentive and empowering for the group and for each participant. This approach makes it possible to produce original solutions, for example, for a group of advisers facing problems in controlling diseases and considering innovative cropping systems.
3. Discussion group was developed by New Advisers’ Irish partner Teagasc and, as its name suggests, is used with groups of farmers, for example, a series of meetings throughout a winter on successive themes agreed with the participants. Each event is carefully prepared with the farmer, whose farm hosts the meeting. The adviser not only provides technical knowledge, but importantly brings relational and methodological expertise in facilitating discussions. This lead adviser may be assisted by colleagues as experts on specific issues, and the work is organised as part of a team.
Please note: Each video lasts for three to four minutes and can be used in different ways:
To access to the video you want to watch, click on the corresponding box of the table below:
|Tutorial||Situation Problem||Clear Vision||Problem-Based Learning||Discussion Group|
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