There is a critical need to develop land planning processes that can build the capacities of local communities to address stewardship and sustainability at both the individual and collective/landscape scales. Social learning has been advocated as a process by which to build the capacity of local communities to address these issues. This paper outlines a social learning process currently being conducted to collectively develop a common mental model (or schema) of local landscape change among private forest landowners of Morgan County, Tennessee. By seeking a shared schema of landscape change landowners will elucidate and engage hidden assumptions that guide their land use decisions. This learning process is expected to increase community capacity by giving landowners a common understanding from which to make and/or support more sustainable land use decisions. The effectiveness of the social learning process is evaluated using individual cognitive mapping in a pre/post test quasi-experimental research design.