When Smartness of a Participatory Learning Ecosystem Should Not Be Interpreted as Mediation by Technology: Case-Study of Golbaf Town, Iran

  • Ali Maleki
  • Najmoddin Yazdi
  • Milad Jalalvand
  • Seyed Reza Tabibzade
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 95)


Sustainable development is coined with ongoing social learning processes. As part of a sustainable regional development project in Golbaf town, Iran, development of a participatory community-based learning ecosystem (social learning) was soon found to be a requisite. This in turn was seen to be hampered by lack of social capitals, namely trust, self-confidence and participatoriness.

The interim results of the project indicate the followings as a way towards smartness (survivability) of a participatory learning ecosystem in developing contexts where mistrust, inactiveness and lack of confidence prevail: (1) Facilitating rather than doing by conveners, (2) learning by doing by citizens, and (3) gradual trust formation. It also questions suitability and survivability of highly technology-mediated learning ecosystems in such cases characterised by mistrust and lack of confidence.

The results suggest a progressive approach towards mediation of technologies. In fact, above socio-cultural barriers required us to proceed face-to-face for the regeneration of social capital in order to make the newly-born learning ecosystem survivable and embeddable by time.


Sustainable development Participatory community-based learning ecosystem Mistrust Lack of self-confidence 


  1. 1.
    Loeber, A., van Mierlo, B., Grin, J., Leeuwis, C.: The practical value of theory: conceptualising learning in the pursuit of a sustainable development. In: Social Learning Towards a Sustainable World, pp. 83–98. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen (2007)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Callois, J.-M., Aubert, F.: Towards indicators of social capital for regional development issues: the case of French rural areas. Reg. Stud. 41(6), 809–821 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Iyer, S., Kitson, M., Toh, B.: Social capital, economic growth and regional development. Reg. Stud. 39(8), 1015–1040 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Harriss, J., De Renzio, P.: POLICY ARENA: ‘Missing link’ or analytically missing? The concept of social capital. Edited by John Harriss. An introductory bibliographic essay. J. Int. Dev. 9(7), 919–937 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Wals, A.E.: Social Learning Towards a Sustainable World: Principles, Perspectives, and Praxis. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen (2007)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Tilbury, D., Cooke, K.: A national review of environmental education and its contribution to sustainability in Australia: frameworks for sustainability. Department for the Environment and Heritage, and Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability (2005)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jönsson, S., Lukka, K.: Doing interventionist research in management accounting. University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Research Institute GRI (2005)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Goyal, S., Sergi, B.S.: Creating a formal market ecosystem for base of the pyramid markets-strategic choices for social embeddedness. Int. J. Bus. Glob. 15(1), 63–80 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pace, R., Dipace, A., di Matteo, A.: On-site and online learning paths for an educational farm. Pedagogical perspectives for knowledge and social development. Rem-Res. Educ. Media 6(1), 39–56 (2014)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Moulaert, F., Nussbaumer, J.: The social region: beyond the territorial dynamics of the learning economy. Eur. Urban Reg. Stud. 12(1), 45–64 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Rizzo, F., Deserti, A., de Pous, M.: Social Innovation Community EU Project. Deliverable 4.1. Report on SIC learning principles and processes (2017)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mealha, Ó.: Citizen-driven dashboards in smart ecosystems: a framework. Interact. Des. Archit. 31, 32–42 (2016)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Zago, R., Block, T., Dessein, J., Brunori, G., Messely, L.: Citizen participation in neo-endogenous rural development: the case of LEADER programme. In: 6th EAAE Ph.D. Workshop, Co-organized by AIEAA (Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics) and the Department of Economics of Roma Tre University (2015)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Markkula, M., Kune, H.: Making smart regions smarter: smart specialization and the role of universities in regional innovation ecosystems. Technol. Innov. Manag. Rev. 5(10) (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dondi, C., Aceto, S., Proli, D.: Learnovation Foresight Report. Foresight Report HAL Id: hal-00592999 (2009)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Chang, W., Cha, M.: Government driven partnership for lifelong learning in Korea: a case study of four cities. Int. J. Lifelong Educ. 27(5), 579–597 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hibbitt, K., Jones, P., Meegan, R.: Tackling social exclusion: the role of social capital in urban regeneration on Merseyside—from mistrust to trust? Eur. Plan. Stud. 9(2), 141–161 (2001)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Schicklinski, J.: Civil society actors as drivers of socio-ecological transition?: Green spaces in European cities as laboratories of social innovation. Working Paper No. 102-THEME SSH.2011.1.2-1 (2015)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Peirce, H.J.: The dynamics of learning partnerships: case studies from Queensland. Queensland University of Technology (2006)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Research Institute for Science, Technology, and Industry Policy (RISTIP)Sharif University of TechnologyTehranIran

Personalised recommendations