Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural Education and Studies

First Advisor

Robert A. Martin


Development of sustainability in conventional agricultural systems is a challenge that agricultural scientists and educators have to face. Review of related studies indicated that extension educators were skeptical of the application of sustainable agricultural practices. However, none of these past studies focused on extension educators' perceptions regarding the teaching learning process related to sustainable agriculture.;The purpose of this study was to determine extension educators' perceptions regarding the teaching-learning process pertaining to sustainable agricultural practices, and identify the relationship between extension educators' perceptions and their motivation for learning about sustainable agriculture.;This was a survey research study conducted with a stratified random sample of 415 individuals selected from the agricultural extension educators in the North Central region of the United States. Findings were based on 323 completed questionnaires. Non-response error was controlled enabling findings to be generalized over the population.;Findings indicated that agricultural extension educators in the North Central region of the United States were mainly middle-aged and predominantly male.;Agricultural extension educators had positive perceptions toward sustainable agriculture. Their perceptions of sustainable agriculture did not vary with their demographic characteristics. However, sustainable agriculture was a confusing term for many agricultural extension educators.;Experiential learning, problem solving and a systems approach were effective delivery mechanisms in teaching concepts related to sustainable agriculture. One-on-one instruction, demonstrations and group discussions were considered the most effective teaching methods and field trips study tours and workshops were considered most effective teaching tools in educating farmers about sustainable agriculture.;Availability of time was the most limiting factor for agricultural extension educators to learn about sustainable agriculture. Lack of farmers' demand, negative attitudes toward sustainable agriculture and confusion about the definition of sustainable agriculture were considered significant constraints to learning about sustainable agriculture. Agricultural extension educators perceived that they were highly motivated for extension work.;This study revealed a strong relationship between perception about sustainable agriculture and extension educators' motivation for learning more about sustainable agriculture.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Koralalage Sunil Upali Jayaratne



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

119 pages