IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Adult Educators In Co-Operative Development: Agents Of Change


  • Stefanson, Brenda


This work attempts to contribute to our understanding of the role of the external agent and, in particular, the adult educator, in co-operative development. By focusing on the role of adult education in co-operative movements, we can better understand how education contributes to a change in attitude, to building trust and cohesion in groups, and to encouraging people to work together to make improvements in their economic situations and in their communities. The objective of this work is to describe the role of adult educators and extension agents in the co-operative development process. To accomplish this objective, information is compiled from literature dealing with adult education, co-operative development, economies, and other disciplines, and from primary research presented as a case study. Information for the case study was gathered through study tours, personal and telephone interviews, and from literature describing co-operative development in North Dakota and Minnesota. The results of this research emphasize the importance of the active participation and encouragement of a variety of external agencies. The role of the change agent as co-ordinator and facilitator appears to be a crucial element in fostering collective action. In summary, the role of the adult educator is to: facilitate a change of attitude, co-ordinate the expectation of reciprocal co-operation, assist in identifying common goals and a common vision, expand the frame of reference by providing information in an appropriate manner, and foster and nurture leadership within the constituent group. Adult education programmes involved in co-operative development tend to employ similar methods, such as group learning, community capacity building, individual capacity building, discussion forums, and a broad education in economic, social, and political issues, as well as the more practical elements literacy, life skills, and general information. The adult education programme does not stand alone. A network of external agencies provides support and services to the programme and to the fledging co-operative. This network focuses on a common goal: to develop policy and resources to support and encourage education and collective action to address social and economic problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefanson, Brenda, 2002. "Adult Educators In Co-Operative Development: Agents Of Change," Occasional Papers 31777, University of Saskatchewan, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uscoop:31777

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:uscoop:31777. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.