From facilitated to independent tourism learning networks: Connecting the dots

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Facilitated networks are regularly cited in tourism literature as a means to promote sustainable competitive advantage in small tourism firms. These networks function for a variety of reasons including marketing, innovation and research and development; however learning networks specifically seek to encourage learning among tourism entrepreneurs. Once established, the question remains whether such networks can transition from facilitated cooperative learning strategies to become independent learning communities in the longer term. Little is known about the formation, maintenance or success of these types of learning relationships after facilitated learning structures and supports reach a conclusion. What is known is that these networks, labelled "evolving learning communities" (ELCs) by the authors, are devoid of formal structures, thus autonomy in their structural and relational reasoning is required. In this paper, the authors explore a facilitated tourism learning network (TLN) environment operating in Ireland, and discuss the potential to transition from a facilitated TLN to an independent learning network environment. Following a comprehensive literature review, the authors propose an ELC model for the purposes of mapping the tourism entrepreneur's learning development, from the autonomous business setting to the facilitated learning network environment and on to the independent learning network arena, illustrating the evolution of a learning community. The overriding research objective is to explore the elements and relationships that influence entrepreneurial learning in tourism learning networks. Future research will inform and validate the proposed model through the completion of a longitudinal interpretive case study incorporating sub-studies for the purposes of cross-validation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-197
Number of pages13
JournalTourism Planning and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
EventInternational Tourism Entrepreneurship Conference - Wilfrid Laurier University, Wilfrid Laurier University
Duration: 01 Jan 2010 → …


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