Learning how to understand complexity and deal with sustainability challenges : A framework for a comprehensive approach and its application in university education

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Willamo , R , Helenius , L , Holmström , C , Haapanen , L , Sandström , V , Huotari , E , Kaarre , K , Värre , U , Nuotiomäki , A , Happonen , J & Kolehmainen , L 2018 , ' Learning how to understand complexity and deal with sustainability challenges : A framework for a comprehensive approach and its application in university education ' , Ecological Modelling , vol. 370 , pp. 1-13 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.12.011

Title: Learning how to understand complexity and deal with sustainability challenges : A framework for a comprehensive approach and its application in university education
Author: Willamo, R.; Helenius, L.; Holmström, C.; Haapanen, L.; Sandström, V.; Huotari, E.; Kaarre, K.; Värre, U.; Nuotiomäki, A.; Happonen, J.; Kolehmainen, L.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Date: 2018-02-24
Language: eng
Number of pages: 13
Belongs to series: Ecological Modelling
ISSN: 0304-3800
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/311663
Abstract: Sustainability challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty and rapid urbanization are complex and strongly interrelated. In order to successfully deal with these challenges, we need comprehensive approaches that integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines and perspectives and emphasize interconnections. In short, they aid in observing matters in a wider perspective without losing an understanding of the details. In order to teach and learn a comprehensive approach, we need to better understand what comprehensive thinking actually is. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework for a comprehensive approach, termed the GHH framework. The framework comprises three dimensions: generalism, holism, and holarchism. It contributes to the academic community's understanding of comprehensive thinking and it can be used for integrating comprehensive thinking into education. Also, practical examples of the application of the framework in university teaching are presented. We argue that an ideal approach to sustainability challenges and complexity in general is a balanced, dialectical combination of comprehensive and differentiative approaches. The current dominance of specialization, or the differentiative approach, in university education calls for a stronger emphasis on comprehensive thinking skills. Comprehensiveness should not be considered as a flawed approach, but should instead be considered as important an aspect in education as specialized and differentiative skills. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Subject: Comprehensive approach
Sustainability science
Complexity
Generalism
Holism
Holarchism
SYSTEMS THINKING
SCIENCE
PARADIGM
LESSONS
PROGRAM
1172 Environmental sciences
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