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Understanding the environment: Thinking styles and models

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There is increasing recognition that the reductionist mindset that is currently dominating society, rooted in unlimited economic growth unperceptive to its social and environmental impact, cannot resolve the converging environmental, social and economic crises we now face. The primary aim of this freee course, Understanding the environment: Thinking styles and models, is to encourage the shift away from reductionist and human centred thinking towards a holistic and ecological worldview.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the need to recognise and integrate a blend of cognitive styles and multiple intelligences as the basis for effective systems practice and thinking
  • recognise that the way we engage with the world is through partial models of reality, and that these models are limited by different cognitive styles and ‘traps’.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 16 hours
  • Updated Tuesday 29th March 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Environmental Studies
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Understanding the environment: thinking styles and models


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Communities everywhere are coming under increasing pressure from interlinked social, economic and environmental challenges. Many communities are coming together to tackle these challenges, and individuals with some expertise in exploring wicked problems will play an increasingly significant role. In order to allow effective collaboration in understanding the highly complex and interlinked forces at play, it is important to have community groups composed of individuals with complementary skills. The aim of this course is to explore your particular approach to engaging with complex situations, allowing you to discover your strengths and weaknesses.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 2 study in Environment & Development [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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