Simulation-Based Learning Environments to Teach Complexity

While public-sector management problems are steeped in positivistic and socially constructed complexity, public management education in the management of complexity lags behind that of business schools, particularly in the application of simulation-based learning. This paper describes a Simulation-Based Learning Environment for public management education that includes a coupled case study and System Dynamics simulation surrounding flood protection, a domain where stewardship decisions regarding public infrastructure and investment have direct and indirect effects on businesses and the public. The Pointe Claire case and CoastalProtectSIM simulation provide a platform for policy experimentation under conditions of exogenous uncertainty (weather and climate change) as well as endogenous effects generated by structure. We discuss the model in some detail, and present teaching materials developed to date to support the use of our work in public administration curricula. Our experience with this case demonstrates the potential of this approach to motivate sustainable learning about complexity in public management settings and enhance learners’ competency to deal with complex dynamic problems.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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