A learning setting to face climate change

Future and present decision makers need to be enabled to be aware of complex (system) interdependencies to act wisely and sustainably. For instance, dealing with complex problems like climate change asks for a number of key competencies that have to be addressed by communication and by education.

Scenario analyses originated in strategic analyses (like in the military or economy, e.g. Shell) are aiming at stimulating improved decision-making. Lately, they have become more prominent in educational processes, e.g. active learning in economy. In “Climate Change Education” scenarios have so far been used to communicate future developments. The (computer supported) construction process of qualitative scenarios by participants’ interdisciplinary teamwork in an educational programme goes beyond communication. It is supposed to foster the development of important key competencies as well as regarding the discourse of ESD.

I will present a specially designed learning setting aimed at competency development for dealing with complex problems like climate change, how to cope with an uncertain future and fostering systemic interrelated (man-environment) thinking. The example uses a collaborative problem-oriented and blended learning environment in which participants conduct a formative scenario analysis. It was originally developed as professional training for key decision makers but has been adapted for higher education.

Results of a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of the training on the participants by a triangulation of qualitative interviews and a quantitative psychological pre/post examination (regarding knowledge and the development of complex mental models about climate change and society) will be presented.