Table 1. Three research approaches to social learning: main characteristics

Individual-centric Network-centric Systems-centric

Characterizing features
Learning process Transformative: learning as a transformative process that occurs during a participatory activity and involves the individual Experiential: learning as a process embedded in past experience and/or observation of other practitioners Emergent: learning as an emergent property of the social-ecological system
Learning outcomes A change of participants' internal-reflective processes; a change of participants' behavior A change in established resource use or management practices Shift of the social-ecological system on a more sustainable path

Level of analysis
Unit of observation The individual The individual, network, multi-stakeholder platform The individual, ecosystems, institutions
Unit of analysis The participant Networks
Multi-stakeholder platforms
The social-ecological system
Learning agent of interest The individual who participates in a participatory workshop The practitioner, member of a community of practice, and/or network of practitioners The stakeholder, community member, or practitioner who is involved in resource management

Operational measures Moral dimension (civil virtues), cognitive dimension (improved understanding of problem domain), relational dimension (relational base), trust (trust toward participants, process) Change in how things are done; improved relationships Change of institutions and management practices at higher levels (e.g., policy), with interest for ecosystem responses