RDEV40560 Agricultural Extension & Innov

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module is a Level 4 module for the Masters in Agricultural Innovation Support (MAIS). It is available as an elective module to other postgraduate programmes.

This module focuses on processes of learning and behaviour change as they relate to farm level decision making, technology adoption and creation of innovation. It examines the link between agricultural research, farm advisory services and agricultural education as part of the ‘AKIS' (Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System) and how extension and education can be seen as a science, a process/activity and as a policy instrument. The module explores the social and psychological factors that influence farmer learning, innovation and behaviour change. This is critically important in farm productivity, profitability and viability.

This module examines the evolution of approaches to agricultural extension from technology transfer to capacity building and enabling change. It examines the role of extension and education as instruments of agricultural and rural development policy and the role of the agricultural knowledge and information system (AKIS). It explores the social, cultural and psychological factors that act as barriers or catalysts for innovation and technology adoption and equips the student with a sound understanding of adult learning and behaviour change. The module gives students an opportunity to learn practical skills in group facilitation.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Explain the evolution of agricultural extension services, the link between research, education and extension and their role as instruments of agricultural and rural development policy
2. Assess and analyse the linkages between research, education and extension agricultural and rural innovation
3. Identify economic, social, cultural, and psychological factors that affect farm household decision making and innovation
4. Be familiar with different theories and strategies for adult learning
5. Be able to develop an education or advisory programme to support adoption of a simple innovation or technology

Indicative Module Content:

The Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS)
Adult Learning and the design of learning programmes
Rural Sociology - understanding farmers, farm families and rural communities
Innovation - what it is, what drives it and how is innovation 'diffused;
The role of the agricultural advisor

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Small Group






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module requires a high level of student participation and engagement as it revolves around peer to peer and problem based learning. Students will work in small groups on issues and topics and have opportunities to debate different perspectives on the challenges in agricultural extension. We will also invite some guest lecturers and give students the opportunity to attend the UCD/Teagasc Knowledge Tranfer Conference 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Participation in in-class debate and essay based on individual review of peer reviewed literature Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Group Project: Analysis of a challenge facing farm families and design of an appropriate learning programme Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: An end of semester reflective essay on learning from the module Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Assessment 1 - participation in class debate, oral questions and feedback to be used in writing of essay. Individual feedback on essay. Assessment 2 - group project. Formative feedback in weekly classes where groups present. Final written feedback and peer review. Assessment 3 - final written feedback

Name Role
Dr Sinéad Flannery Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor James Kinsella Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Tomás Russell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 14:00 - 16:50