Publication Detail

Learning through participatory modeling: Reflections on what it means and how it is measured

Seth Tuler, K Dow, Thomas Webler, J Whitehead

Participatory modeling has tremendous potential to promote in-dividual and group learning in environmental decision-making processes. We have implemented a participatory modeling pro-cess, the Vulnerability, Consequences, and Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) process, in 14 communities to support mu-nicipal planning in the face of climate change. We emphasize learning through the dynamic process of developing the capacity to think critically, creatively, and collaboratively in support of individual and group decision-making and planning to remedy a problem of common concern. Participant feedback emphasizing the importance of learning via development of capacities that support activities of thinking and planning, rather than learning via the transfer of knowledge, prompted us to consider more deeply how we design participatory modeling processes and evaluate learning in them. In this chapter we provide a brief overview of the VCAPS process. Second, we interpret learning in our VCAPS process using a combination of a socio-cultural theo-ry of action and a framework from developmental psychology. Third, we reflect upon how these insights informed the devel-opment of the VCAPS process. Fourth, we comment on the les-sons learned for the theory and practice of learning in participa-tory modeling.

type: Book chapter reprints

Parent Project

Project No.: 2011-R/RCM-32
Title: Improving understandings of consequences, vulnerabilities, and adaptation strategies to climate change related hazards