From 6-8 December 2022, the partners of the TRACCskills project facilitated a pilot course on "Transformative Decision Making: Teaching Cross Cutting Skills for the SDGs in Higher Education". 20 educators and trainers gathered at Leuphana University of Lüneburg to test various tools and facilitation methods by applying them to their individual decision-making cases – a truly transformative experience for both facilitators and participants!
When striving for a truly sustainable, inclusive development, we often face dilemmas and a high complexity of decision-making processes. What skills and competences are necessary to make wise decisions, when no optimal solution is in sight? The project TRACCskills (Transformational, cross-cutting people skills for the SDGs) seeks answers to this question by focusing on "people skills". It aims to support educators in designing and delivering transformative adult education to convey competences that cover the behavioral aspects of sustainable development. The pilot course in Lüneburg aimed to contribute to this ambition and will be followed by further online events in early 2023 (see below).
The pilot course was organized by the project partners COPERNICUS Alliance, Legacy17 and Visionautik Akademie with support from colleagues at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. Indeed, the venue in the Central Building of Leuphana University was a suitable place to host such a course, as the university is considered a role model for sustainability at many levels.
The course was primarily designed for Higher Education but also drew a sprinkling of other educational settings. It focused on how such an educational topic as decision-making can be made into an opportunity for transformative learning. The first exercise in the course was to identify complex decision-making cases that could potentially contain a dilemma. The facilitators Marilyn Mehlmann (Legacy17), Elisabeth Hofmann (COPERNICUS Alliance) and Anne Zimmermann (COPERNICUS Alliance & Legacy17) invited participants to present their individual decision-making cases. To address these cases, several tools and facilitation methods were applied, e.g. Deep Listening, Appreciative Dialogue, Stakeholder Analysis, Risk Analysis, Lateral Thinking, Guided Visualization, and Fleck's Synergy. By following this hands-on approach participants were able to get a feel for how to apply different methods in practice. Step-by-step each case was analyzed taking into account different options, risks and opportunities, which would eventually lead to a decision.
Boris Goldammer (Visionautik Akademie) introduced the Transformation Toolbox, a website which offers a large collection of facilitation methods applicable in various settings to foster transformational learning.
The participants of the pilot course will meet again in two online follow-up sessions. By the end of the TRACCskills project in March 2023, all findings will be gathered in a draft practice-oriented compendium for use in designing and delivering high-quality, future-fit adult education. The intended users of the compendium are adult educators within the formal and non-formal sector who dedicate their work to ESD and are open to rethinking and renewing their teaching practice.