Systems Thinking

Watch the video above, which is an example of a lecture included in the learning package.

About the Learning Package

The Systems Thinking Learning Package provides an introduction to complex systems (feedback loops, resilience, and tipping points), ecosystem services, management of renewable resources, and the concept of the tragedy of the commons. The learning package includes the simulation game FishBanks and related study materials on the digital platform Snowflake Education Toolkit.

Systems thinking is one of the most fundamental key competencies for sustainable development, and it is extremely valuable for a deeper understanding of any subject. Spontaneously, many students tend to think linearly: that causality leads to A affecting B, B affecting C, and so on. This is how many are used to understanding the world. But when one realizes that C also affects A, and that there is thus a feedback loop, something happens to one's entire worldview!

In fact, there are only two types of feedback loops: those that tend to amplify development and those that tend to dampen development. The competition between different feedback loops means that systems can be in somewhat stable states, but if the system's resilience is challenged too much, it can quickly transition from one state to another (at the tipping point). All dynamics in the world can be understood by looking for these feedback loops, including the climate system, ecosystems, the world economy, human psychology, learning processes, technical systems, and so on.

The learning package consists of preparatory material (with video lectures, reflection tasks, and an assignment), a seminar (with the FishBanks simulation game, ready-made PowerPoint files, and instructions for teachers), and a follow-up assignment (an assignment that challenges students to connect the generic learning in the preparatory task and game seminar to their own subject area).

If the entire package is used, the preparatory self-study materials represent approximately 5 hours for the student, seminar material for 4 hours of seminar time is included, and the follow-up assignment takes up to about 5 hours for the student. The entire learning package is intended to correspond to approximately 0.5 credits in the European HE system (~12-13 hours of study), but the material can be used flexibly, and one can add or remove material.

The learning package was originally developed for higher education, and the material is suitable for an introduction to a systems thinking at both basic and advanced levels. However, with only minor modifications, it is also excellent for both high school and doctoral level as well as within professional training.

    In the Systems Thinking Learning Package, the following is included:

  • Access to Snowflake Education Toolkit, our digital platform with video lectures, reflection tasks, and homework assignments that can be given to your students as preparation before the seminar, and as a follow-up task after the seminar.
  • PowerPoint files to facilitate the simulation seminar.
  • Instructor's guide, which helps you to set up the homework assignments and conduct the seminar.
  • The simulation game FishBanks, which challenges participants to make strategic decisions with limited access to information. The game is a demonstration of the concept of the tragedy of the commons, and players must manage a renewable resource (fish) within a complex system. FishBanks is played with up to 40 participants per game, divided into 2-6 teams. There is a game board placed in the center of the classroom, with teams located at their respective tables around the room. The seminar leader also uses a computer, where the game is run as a computer program in parallel - and the computer keeps track of what happens behind the scenes.
  • Digital version of the FishBanks board game that utilizes the same computer program, as well as a digital workshop that is conducted online in a similar manner to in the classroom.

Order the Systems Thinking Learning Package today!