Three different frames of social learning are first identified: social learning as a fundamental social phenomenon, social learning as collaborative learning, and social learning as deeper learning. This article investigates the role of social learning and other factors through semistructured in-depth interviews.

Results show that learning among farmers is inherently social, but that this learning does not necessarily improve natural resource management or lead to better environmental governance. The article discusses when social learning can be expected to influence natural resources management, and finds that without the presence of policy, individual leadership, or facilitation, it is not an important factor. Furthermore, the call for social learning based on results from successful instrumental application risks obscuring findings indicating that both social learning and better natural resource management are conditioned on the same external factors.

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