Systemic environmental decision making: designing learning systems

Ison, Ray; Blackmore, Chris; Collins, Kevin and Furniss, Pam (2007). Systemic environmental decision making: designing learning systems. Kybernetes, 36(9-10) pp. 1340–1361.




Informed by first and second-order cybernetic understandings the case is made for the design of learning systems as a socially relevant form of praxis for situations of complexity, uncertainty and conflict. Two case studies of designing are considered. In the first, students of two versions of the Open University course 'Environmental decision making: a systems approach' use a 'learning system' heuristic designed to encourage them to start off systemically in environmental decision making (EDM). They do this by exploring decision-making situations before formulating problems, opportunities and systems of interest in situations of complexity. Learning from the design of learning systems for students can inform research practice. In the second case a systemic approach for managing water through social learning based on the design of a systemic inquiry is described. Drawing from these examples the authors explore the cybernetic
and systemic nature of their design praxis making the case for first and second-order designing as well as systemic and systematic practice to be treated as a duality rather
than a dualism

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