Can digital discussion support tools provide cost-effective options for agricultural extension services?

Mushtaq, Shahbaz and Reardon-Smith, Kate and Cliffe, Neil and Ostini, Jenny and Farley, Helen and Doyle, Joanne and Kealley, Matt (2017) Can digital discussion support tools provide cost-effective options for agricultural extension services? Information Technologies & International Development, 13. pp. 52-68. ISSN 1544-7529

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Abstract

Agricultural extension that delivers timely, targeted, and cost-effective support to farmers will help ensure the sustainability and adaptive capacity of agriculture, enhancing both food security and environmental security. Leveraging advances in agriclimate science and adult education, innovative digital technologies offer significant new opportunities to engage with farmers and to support decision making. In this study, animated video clips (machinimas), developed using the Second LifeTM virtual world gaming platform, model conversations around climate risk and critical on-farm decisions in the Australian sugarcane farming industry. Early evaluation indicates that this is an engaging format that promotes discussion by leveraging farmers’ natural modes of information gathering and social learning. Comparison with conventional extension practices indicates that these discussion support tools may be a cost-effective addition to existing approaches. The format’s flexibility means machinimas are readily updated with new information and customized to meet the needs of different farmer groups. Rapid growth in digital access globally and the scalability of such approaches promise greater equity of access to high-value information, critical to better risk management decision making, at minimal cost, for millions of farmers.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2017 00:08
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2018 04:30
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital communication; agricultural extension; virtual world machinimas; real world decision support; climate risk management
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200102 Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200103 International and Development Communication
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/30901

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