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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Defining Peer-to-peer Learning – from an Old ‘Art of Practice’ to a New Mode of Forest Owner Extension?

Hamunen, Katri; Appelstrand, Marie; Hujala, Teppo; Kurttila, Mikko; Sriskandarajah, Nadarajah; Vilkriste, Lelde; Westberg, Lotten; Tikkanen, Jukka


Purpose: This paper explores the concept of peer-to-peer learning (P2PL) in the context of North-European small-scale forest owners. The aim is to develop a framework for initiating new and evaluating already existing forest owners' P2PL communities.

Design: Previous studies of peer-learning are used to determine and justify eight dimensions for forest owners' P2PL. To demonstrate and test the operability of the dimensions, two potential forest owners' peer-learning cases are described. The Finnish case focuses on forest owner clubs based on group interview data and the coordinator's interview, and in the Swedish case an ongoing study circle was observed and its participants interviewed.

Findings: The eight P2PL dimensions defined are: initiation, reinforcement, content profile, participant profile, schedule, role of professionals, responsibility and role continuity. Of the described cases, Finnish forest owner clubs rely heavily on the expertise of the invited forest professionals, while owners themselves have a stronger role in Swedish study circles.

Practical Implications: The two studied cases and the fictional example demonstrate how the framework defined can be used when assessing real life cases. The framework allows describing consistently P2PL, when designing new practices or implementing step-by-step changes to modify existing P2PL practices.

Value: The framework gives new insights into the research of forest owner extension, which has had an increasing interest towards P2PL approach, but where its conceptualisation has remained vague. However, since the domain of the study is novel, further research with various case examples is needed to develop both the theoretical framework and real life practices.


Adult education, Extension, Family forest owners, Forest owner club, Land owner community, Study circle

Published in

Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension
2015, volume: 21, number: 4, pages: 293-307

Authors' information

Hamunen, Katri
University of Eastern Finland
Appelstrand, Marie
Lund University
Hujala, Teppo
Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla)
Kurttila, Mikko
Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Vilkriste, Lelde
Latvian State Forest Research Institute "Silava"
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Tikkanen, Jukka
University of Oulu

Associated SLU-program


Sustainable Development Goals

SDG4 Quality education

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)