What are important learning objectives?

Always devote attention to the learning objectives listed below. Earmark the capacity, money and learning activities, such as workshops, interviews and literature study, needed to achieve the learning objectives in the action plan.

Learning within your project and from related transition projects

The objective here is to learn about the methods, problems and solutions of your own transition projects and of related projects. You can learn from various aspects. For a system innovation heavily based on technology, for example, you can learn about technical design, infrastructure, the market demand and how the innovation can be embedded in the user context, the social implications or environmental impact, the industrial development and support network that need to be created and government policy and legislation.

Sharing insights and experiences with participants in other projects can help you to generate new ideas but also highlight your own 'blind spots', as well as teaching you more about how to create more attention for structural problems in relation to transition programmes at a higher level.

Reflection on accepted mental and action models

It is time to reflect on the accepted mental and action models when it is clear that ‘normal' adjustments are not working. This is likely to be the case with system innovations in the pursuit of sustainable development. It will then be necessary to discuss the nature of the problem, the knowledge that is taken for granted, as well as values and identities. If this debate causes stakeholders to revise their deeper convictions and values, we refer to second-order learning (in first-order learning, participants learn within the context of a given problem definition and about the analysis of  the chosen solution, but deeper convictions and value do not change). Second-order learning opens up paths to new solutions and helps to build stakeholder support for the project. Read more about this subject under ‘About transitions '.

When do you plan second-order learning?

Second-order learning is an aspect that needs to be considered throughout the project, from the formulation of a vision up to and including the process of societal anchoring. Allow time in the schedule for regular meetings with the stakeholders when questions can be discussed such as: "Why are we doing what we are doing?"; "Are we doing the right things?"; "Are we not taking too much for granted?" You should also create regular opportunities to secure feedback from other interested parties. See also the cluster ‘Monitoring and Evaluation'.