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Learning innovation diffusion as complex adaptive systems through model building, simulation, game play and reflections
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Paper presented at the 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2012, Sydney, Australia, 2-6 July, 2012
To effectively foster innovation diffusion, school leaders need to learn innovation
diffusion as Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). In this study, two school leaders formed a
dyad to learn both the knowledge about innovation diffusion and the knowledge in fostering
innovation diffusion. Agent-based model building, model simulation, game play of a
simulation game and reflections were designed as learning activities in this study. In the
learning process, the learners developed the following understanding in innovation diffusion:
teachers’ adoption decisions are based on limited rationality and local information; teachers
have nonlinear influence on each other through social networks; teachers are heterogonous
agents; and diffusion is a process of emergence. The learners also learnt to leverage on social
networks to foster effective innovation diffusion. While agent-based model building faces
challenges for learning CAS in the social science domain, this study shows that engaging
learners in reflection activities helps to overcome the challenges.
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