Opening learning spaces to create actionable knowledge for conservation

Marc J. Stern, David D. Briske, Alison M. Meadow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The limited application of science to environmental management has been termed the “science-management knowledge gap.” This gap is widely assumed to be a consequence of inefficient knowledge transfer from science to application. However, this metaphor misrepresents knowledge as a “thing” that can be readily exchanged in complex systems, rather than a “process of relating” that involves negotiation and dialogue among stakeholders. We advocate for development of a more explicit alternative model of knowledge creation founded on Nonaka's Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation, which emphasizes how knowledge is converted into more usable forms through socialization, externalization, combination, and internalization within “learning spaces.” Effective learning spaces require sufficient trust to enable open, honest, and receptive interactions among stakeholders. We advocate that greater emphasis on knowledge conversions within effectively designed learning spaces will accelerate development of actionable knowledge beyond that of existing models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere378
JournalConservation Science and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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