Computer models as social learning tools in participatory integrated assessment

Joop de Kraker*, Carolien Kroeze, Paul Kirschner

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Participatory integrated assessment (pia) is a structured process conducted with stakeholders to assess the environmental, economic and social dimensions of a complex issue and the impacts of policy choices. Pia may result in social learning – a convergence in the stakeholders' perspectives on the problem and its solutions – which creates a basis for more sustainable, collective action. This paper addresses the role of computer models used in integrated assessment in supporting social learning and discusses a selection of model-based pia projects. We argue that models may play two important roles. First, with models the consequences of options can be explored turning the pia process into an experiential learning cycle for the stakeholders. Second, models provide a platform and structure for stakeholders to communicate, negotiate and integrate their perspectives. However, in many pia projects, computer models fail to play a significant supporting role in social learning. Experiences with other participatory modelling approaches indicate that a higher degree of stakeholder involvement in model development can increase the effectiveness of models as social tools. This, however, is time- and resource-intensive and difficult to scale up but insights from collaborative learning science and technology may help to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of pia model in supporting social learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)297-309
    JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011


    • computer models
    • participatory integrated assessment
    • participatory modelling
    • social learning

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