The Value of Conceptual Models in Coping with Complexity and lnterdisciplinarity in Environmental Sciences Education

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Conceptual models are useful for facing the challenges of environmental sciences curriculum and course developers and students. These challenges are inherent to the interdisciplinary and problem-oriented character of environmental sciences curricula. In this article, we review the merits of conceptual models in facing these challenges. These models are valuable because they can be used to (a) improve the coherence and focus of an environmental sciences curriculum, (b) analyze environmental issues and integrate knowledge, (c) examine and guide the process of environmental research and problem solving, and (d) examine and guide the integration of knowledge in the environmental-research and problem-solving processes. We advocate the use of various conceptual models in environmental sciences education. By applying and reflecting on these models, students start to recognize the complexity of human environment systems, to appreciate the various approaches to framing environmental problems, and to comprehend the role of science in dealing with these problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-814
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011



  • framework
  • management
  • dpsir

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