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Fostering learning in large programmes and portfolios: emerging lessons from climate change and sustainable development


Written by Blane Harvey, Tiina Pasanen

In fields like climate and development, where the challenges being addressed can be described as 'wicked', learning is key to successful programming. Useful practical and theoretical work is being undertaken to better understand the role of reflexive learning in bringing together different knowledge to address complex problems like climate change.

This journal article provides a review of practical cases and learning theories commonly used in the areas of resilience, climate change adaptation and environmental management. Using a case study approach, the authors focus on early efforts made in four large, inter-related (or nested) programmes to establish, integrate and sustain learning processes and systems.

Eight themes emerged from the review and are considered from the perspective of learning programmes as emergent communities of practice. By investigating how these themes play out in the nested programming, the paper contributes to the limited existing body of evidence on learning in large climate change programmes and identifies areas where future efforts might focus.

Blane Harvey, Tiina Pasanen, Alison Pollard and Julia Raybould