Farmers' mental models of farming influence their learning, decisions, and actions. Sometimes realizing opportunities for success requires farmers to challenge assumptions embedded in their mental models. The qualitative study described here explored how a group of small-scale farmers developed mental models of farming and the conditions under which their models changed. Two themes emerged indicating that farmers developed and reinforced existing mental models through discovery learning and problem solving and that an "activating event" may trigger transformation of an existing mental model. Understanding how farmers develop mental models can help educators design learning programs and services that enable farmers to succeed.
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Eckert, E., & Bell, A. (2006). Continuity and Change: Themes of Mental Model Development Among Small-Scale Farmers. The Journal of Extension, 44(1), Article 4. https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol44/iss1/4