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TVET SI: Evaluating Boundary Crossing Social Learning in Vocational Education and Training: A value creation approach

Heila Lotz-Sisitka
Lawrence Sisitka
Gamucharai Chakona
Mandilive Matiwane
Chamu Matambo


This article focuses on the development and application of an evaluation model and approach for evaluating boundary crossing social learning in a Vocational Education and Training (VET) learning network in South Africa, with an emphasis on a Training of Trainers (ToT) course that helped to catalyse and strengthen this learning network via two iterations of the course over an eight-year period. The article shares how we adapted the value creation framework (VCF) of Wenger, Traynor and De Laat (2011; Wenger & Wenger-Traynor, 2020) in the evaluation of a VET Training of Trainers (ToT) programme and learning network that focussed on the uptake and circulation of rainwater harvesting and conservation (RWH&C) knowledge in a particular formal and informal VET context in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, where smallholder farmers were struggling to find water for producing food. The evaluated ToT course was catalytic in establishing a boundary crossing social learning network approach in a VET context that linked formal and informal VET (Lotz-Sisitka et al., 2016; Lotz-Sisitka et al., 2022; Pesanayi, 2019); hence we found it important to develop adequate tools for its evaluation. The focus of this article is to share how we developed an evaluation approach to this work. We share insights on the indicators developed for diff erent types of value created, and also insights gained into the use of this evaluation approach in a boundary crossing VET social learning project that took a ToT course as focus. In short, evaluation findings show that the boundary crossing ToT course off ers strong immediate, potential and applied value that can lead to realised and reframed value, especially if supported by ongoing learning network activities that follow the initial engagement in the boundary crossing ToT course. Th is leads, over time, to transformative value which is important in achieving the overall objective of such social learning, namely making knowledge more co-engaging, accessible and useful in the context where improved food security via better use of rainwater harvesting and conservation amongst smallholder farmers and household food producers is a necessary form of sustainable development. Orientation value, and enabling value were found to be vital for the emergence of other kinds of value. The evaluation model also allows for the lifting out of strategic value which points to wider uptake potential. All this creates the possibility for indicator development that can help inform iterative development of boundary crossing VET courses used to stimulate the co-construction of learning networks and ongoing social learning for sustainable development.

Keywords: Vocational Education and Training, evaluation, social learning, value creation framework

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2411-5959
print ISSN: 0256-7504