Sankaran, S, Leigh, EE & Kruse, P 2008, 'Using Systems Thinking to Explore Wicked Problems', Action Learning and Action Research Journal, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 38-49.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper first explains what is meant by wicked problems. Second it will compare Horst Rittel's reasons for identifying wicked problems as opposed to tame problems and Peter Checkland's development of soft systems thinking as opposed to hard systems thinking. it will then describe the process used at the National ALARA conference workshop held at Canberra and the outcome of the exploration. The paper will end with some reflections on the use of SSM to deal with wicked problems.
Spindler, LF & Leigh, EE 2003, 'Reconciling design issues and values in simulations', Simulation & Gaming: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Theory, Practice and Research, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 447-457.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Australia's geographic position in the southeast quadrant of Asia can hardly be disputed, but the historical and emotional ties, until recent times, have been with England and Europe rather than the countries to the north. As the nation take steps to adjust awareness of its location and implications for international relationships and economic development, it has simultaneously been revising its understanding of the past, with specific and ongoing concern for redressing past injustices toward indigenous Australians. The University of Technology, Sydney, actively promotes intercultural awareness among its highly diverse staff and student body, with a special concern for providing for indigenous learners and staff. As academics, the authors had an opportunity to design an interactive online learning activity for exploring issues of Reconciliation within this wider context. As they worked on clarifying a design brief, the authors realized that more fundamental beliefs and issues were shaping their discussions. This article reports on what happened when they found that they were unable to continue with the initial brief and instead moved to reconsider their separate and mutual perceptions of intercultural issues shaping the process of Reconciliation in Australia. This led to design of a simulation for values-based learning adaptable to issues of Reconciliation and other ways of achieving cultural conflict-resolution.
Shalbafan, S & Leigh, E 2019, 'Hooshmand: Intelligence and Emotion Entangled in a Simulation Game' in Neo-Simulation and Gaming Toward Active Learning, Springer Nature, pp. 397-406.View/Download from: Publisher's site
In Persian "Hooshmand" means intelligence. The simulation Hoosmand-1 creates a clash between intellectual objectivity and emotional reactions to unexpected events. The simulated environment challenges skilled and experienced senior project managers to navigate their way through a set of complex decisions. Initial conditions are complicated but comprehensible, requiring application of knowledge and diligence. Then factors altering the context are introduced to create complex conditions in which standard responses no longer apply. We review outcomes of the project for which Hooshmand-1 was designed. In regard to project portfolio management, cost-benefit ratios and business strategies received more attention than resource availability. In regard to quality decision-making, the effectiveness of team cognition shows up as a key factor shaping performance under stress. "Black Swan" events, Groupthink traps, and Abilene Paradox thinking can all inhibit quality decisions, and Hooshmand-1 provides a context for their emergence and thoughtful analysis.
Algeo, C, Thompson, DG, Leigh, E & Carroll, D 2018, 'Future-Proofing Postgraduate Learning and Assessment Strategies for Deeper Learning' in Postgraduate Education in Higher Education, Springer, Germany, pp. 237-258.View/Download from: Publisher's site
In the twenty-first century, teachers in postgraduate education are, consciously or otherwise, attempting to prepare students to operate in "complex" contexts where outcomes are often unknown. The teaching role and task for academics is evolving from content provider and knowledge guardian into process designer and professional coach. Conversely, the learning role and task for students is emerging as one that requires engaging with personal "attributes" and developing capacities for knowledge integration as part of a lifelong learning strategy. To prepare graduates for a rapidly changing world and workplace, this chapter demonstrates future-proofed teaching and learning strategies together with attribute-based approaches to assessment using innovative software. The implementation of these in different postgraduate degrees at two Australian universities is used to demonstrate how these changing paradigms can be embraced by students, academics, and external accrediting bodies.
Shalbafan, S, Leigh, E, Pollack, J & Sankaran, S 2016, 'Using simulation to study decision-making in project portfolio management' in Pries-Heje, J & Svejvig, P (eds), Project management for achieving change, Roskilde Universitetsforlag, Copehhagen, pp. 131-150.
This project reports how an emerging awareness of the complexity of project portfolio management (PPM) led t development of a role-play simulation for assessing different means of identifying and reflecting on factors influencing the quality of decision making in stressful PPm situations. Recognition of the inability to access reliable data from within organisations resulted in the development of an open and chaordic (Waldrop, 1996) simulation that replicates aspects of the decision-making processes commonly encountered in such complicated and complex conditions. The paper describes the Action LEarning process used to develop this simulation. The contribution of this project to the field of project portfolio management therefore spans both the development of a specific simulation strategy as a research methodology and analysis of issues relating to factors adversely affecting decision-making capacity in times of stress.
Leigh, EE, Luechtefeld, R & Nelson, E 2007, ''Out of Chaos comes Learning' student and staff perspectives on co-creating process-management oriented workplaces in classrooms' in Alptekin Erkollar (ed), Enterprise & Business Management: A Handbook for Educators, Consulters and Practitioners, Tectum Verlad Marburg, Zurich, Switzerland, pp. 59-93.
Remington, K, Leigh, EE & Ragsdell, G 2007, 'Designing Courses for Tomorrow's Project Managers, A Case Study from the University of Technology, Sydney' in Dingli, SM (ed), Creative Thinking: Designing Future Possibilities, Malta University Press, Malta, pp. 117-125.
Spindler, LF & Leigh, EE 2005, 'Congruent Facilitation of Simulations and Games' in Shiratori, R, Arai, K & eds, FK (eds), Gaming, Simulations and Society: Research Scope and Perspective, Springer, Tokyo Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp. 189-198.
Goldfinch, T, Vulic, J, Leigh, E & Willey, K 2020, 'Student perceptions of complexity in engineering education', SEFI 47th Annual Conference: Varietas Delectat... Complexity is the New Normality, Proceedings, pp. 1576-1584.
© 2020 SEFI 47th Annual Conference: Varietas Delectat... Complexity is the New Normality, Proceedings. All rights reserved. The complex and socially connected nature of modern engineering practice is well documented, motivating new approaches to engineering education across the globe. The challenge now is to bring about change at scale to traditional curricula . The University of Sydney has implemented a core program designed to improve students' learning and preparation for professional practice. The program seeks to help students develop an appreciation of complexity in engineering practice and illustrate its interdisciplinary, connected nature. The program serves a cohort of ~800 commencing students annually and is delivered within the bounds of a traditional program structured in units of study. Standardised student satisfaction survey results have been below or well below faculty average, indicating that on this measure, a majority of students are not satisfied with their learning experience. To better understand why, student comments on these surveys were analysed through the lens of the Cynefin framework, a sense-making tool that provides a useful characterisation of complexity experienced in professional engineering [2, 3]. Analysis suggest students may be aligned along a continuum between two positions in regard to the perceived degree of complexity in the learning experience: Comfortable with complexity - Those who recognise and adopt strategies needed to succeed in complex projects; and, Resistance to complexity - Those who see the learning design as unsupportive and unnecessarily ambiguous. The results highlight issues around student perspectives of what 'learning' is, as well as structural issues existing within standardised student satisfaction surveys, each of which pose potential barriers to curriculum reform.
Shepherd, I, Leigh, E & Davies, A 2019, 'Disrupting the familiar: Applying educational theories to simulation-based learning and assessment design', Intersections in Simulation and Gaming: Disruption and Balance: Third Australasian Simulation Congress, ASC 2019 Gold Coast, Australia, September 2–5, 2019 Proceedings, Australasian Simulation Congress, Springer, Australia, pp. 61-76.View/Download from: Publisher's site
As a practice-oriented, experience-based approach to education, simulation is sometimes accused of lacking educational theory, and susceptible to questions about validity. Lewin  asserts that 'there is nothing so practical as good theory' and we propose, conversely in regard simulation, that 'there is nothing so theoretical as good practice'. We introduce the ADELIS© model for learning design, to illustrate a means for disrupting the 'theory versus practice' debate by focusing attention on how to demonstrate that sound educational theory underlies simulation practice. The ADELIS© model invites theorists to recognize the urgency of pragmatic needs to enact learning, and asks practitioners to engage with the value and validity of using a researcher's 'long view' to examine and improve learning outcomes. The recurring inability of theory and practice to bridge the gap between them is a 'wicked' problem , and as such is in the Cynefin Domain of 'Complex' knowledge . Addressing such problems involves unique responses for specific contexts, paying attention to what is required for effective working in this Domain develops a capacity for handling uncertainty and managing complexity familiar terrain for education designers. Successful use of simulation in learning contexts occurs even when there is no obvious link between practice and theories of learning . Using the ADELIS© model for learning design supports theoretically well-formed good practice in simulation design and application. Outcomes include effective learning programs, well informed applications of theory to practice, and assessment strategies enabling educators to track the results well beyond immediate learning experiences . This paper uses cases to demonstrate how theory and practice can collaborate, with positive impacts on educational design.
Engineering involves professionals and clients from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds and
experiences. Professional engineering educators aim to make teaching materials engaging to help
students make sense of knowledge from academic research, general theory and their own practice.
Some of these aspects are hard to convey especially those from areas currently outside student experiences,
including making decision in problem solving, and working in cross-cultural contexts.
We use narratives to introduce students to new and challenging concepts, and in this paper discuss
how and why such strategies engage students regardless of whether they have prior experience or
knowledge. We demonstrate how we do so through an exploration of two frameworks: the Cynefin domains
of knowledge; and teaching cross-cultural contexts through Indigenous storytelling. Narrative is
already a key knowledge sharing strategy for Aboriginal people (Kennedy, 2016), and narratives enable
explicit linking of theory and practice in practical and memorable ways while also making learning
The narrative process extends conventional teaching methods and is well suited to the metacognitive
domain. We illustrate how its use assists students to make sense of knowledge they are encountering
and to acquire learning in an in-depth and personal manner, and how to structure such presentations.
The paper uses a recursive process employing a narrative form to explain how this teaching process
works for improving student understanding of knowledge and knowledge management. Green and
Brook (2000) introduced the theory of "transportation into a narrative world" based on immersion into a
story as a mechanism of narrative influence. Green & Donahue (2011) then reported on the power of
such narrative to change beliefs, including the effects of fictional or false stories on real-world attitudes.
We apply their work in the Cynefin domains and show how different problem-solvi...
Leigh, E & Tipton, E 2017, 'Transitions – From Deterministic to Probabilistic Learning Conditions - Managing Simulations in Complex Conditions', Simulation Gaming. Applications for Sustainable Cities and Smart Infrastructures (LNCS), International Simulation and Gaming Association Conference, Springer Verlag, Delft, Netherlands, pp. 181-190.View/Download from: Publisher's site
When human beings congregate – whether in meetings, public places, urban environments or learning contexts – there is a need for management of the emotional content of the milieu. In many situations this is a personal and private task and its enactment does not intrude on others. In simulations this task is – to varying degrees – deferred to the facilitator. When simulations and game-based activities are used for social change purposes a specific set of (usually) unspoken assumptions must be identified and controlled for. This paper explores the role of the facilitator in regard to the knowledge and capabilities required to successfully engage the diversity of interests and embedded assumptions which shape and inform the actions of all those present (including themselves).
Shalbafan, S & Leigh, E 2017, 'Design Thinking: Project Portfolio Management and Simulation – A Creative Mix for Research', ISAGA 2017: Simulation Gaming. Applications for Sustainable Cities and Smart Infrastructures (LNCS), International Simulation and Gaming Association Conference, Springer Verlag, Delft, Netherlands, pp. 3-14.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper takes de Bono's explanation of 'design thinking' as the starting point for a report on a doctoral research project that began with a conventional 'why?' question, and then, instead of looking for an 'explanation', chose to look forward in time to establish an understanding of 'how to' think differently about a recurring problem. The catalyst for this work was observation of otherwise competent managers making desperately wrong decisions when good decision making was crucial to their company's future. The initial choice to 'look forward' when designing the research strategy was made well before there was a clear understanding of what was being observed. Given that trajectory, this paper explores the process by which a simulation was created and then used in conjunction with a comparatively new approach to data collection (Explanation looks backwards and design looks forward .).
Shalbafan, S, Leigh, E, Pollack, J & Sankaran, S 2017, 'Decision-making in project portfolio management: using the Cynefin framework to understand the impact of complexity', Project Management Research and Practice, International Research Network on Organizing by Projects, UTS ePRESS, Boston University, United States, pp. 1-20.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The majority of project portfolio management tools are not flexible and responsive to complex and dynamic environments. This can result in business losses when management does not effectively adjust project portfolios to meet organizational and contextual needs. This paper concentrates on the impact of individual decision-making, perceptions of decision processes and the influence of uncertainty on effective decision-making in project portfolio management.
Relevance for practice and education
This research explores the impact of real-time events on managers during decision-making processes for project portfolio management, using a purpose-built simulation. The simulation development was informed by the Cynefin framework. The Cynefin framework emphasizes the importance of applying different leadership styles and decision-making approaches depending upon the complexity of the situation.
A multi-method, abductive research process was used to collect and analyse the data. Data collection involved four complete iterations of a purpose-built simulation, resulting in 66 datasets of individuals' perspectives of the project portfolio management decision-making process, under varying levels of complexity. The research data were focused on participants' perceptions of their efforts to manage key decision turning points through two "real-time" events, simulating project cancellations and organizational change.
Participants were found to use different approaches to decision-making, depending on the complexity of the situation. The findings show that participants' roles in the simulation, participants' experience, decision makers' feeling, the maturity of team cognition, and diversity of participants are key considerations that influence the success of decision-making under uncertainty in PPM contexts.
The findings in this study build on previous research in a number of ways. They demonstrate the effectiveness of...
Kutay, CM & Leigh, E 2017, 'Aboriginal Engineering for an enduring civilisation', Proceedings, AAEE2017 Conference, 28th Australasian Association of Engineering Education Conference, Macquarie University, Australia.
CONTEXT Engineering is a set of practices and principles evidenced in the artefacts of
human cultures. In the 21st century there is growing understanding of the implications of this
for supporting innovation and sustainable practices. This paper specifically considers how
Aboriginal cultures employed engineering principles prior to European arrival. Taking into
account this combination of engineering principles, this paper introduces the next steps
towards a framework for integrating Indigenous knowledge into the engineering curriculum.
The aim is to provide a guide for engineering educators towards establishing and/or
strengthening their engagement with local community knowledge holders to explore the
principles and practices as well as teaching strategies of Indigenous technical knowledge.
PURPOSE Provide guidance in what is involved in developing processes for integrating
Aboriginal/Indigenous engineering knowledge into engineering education, including provision
of resources to contribute to revising our knowledge of Australia's technological history.
APPROACH Various approaches are being used to integrate indigenous and non-
Indigenous engineering knowledges. These include locally sourced projects and
encouragement of Indigenous students to become engineers. Integration of indigenous
knowledge, frameworks and protocols into engineering education is increasing our
understanding of the impact of engineering designed for specific cultures and values. This
work provides engineering educators with an exploration of Indigenous engineering practices
in pre-European times; and introductory work on assisting collaborative efforts between
communities and engineering educators through:
• exploring how engineering education might be enhanced by incorporating knowledge
about the civilisation occupying this continent prior to European arrival
• identifying sources of evidence for Aboriginal engineering, and relating this to
engineering education to develop cultural sensiti...
This paper explores working relationships and leadership challenges facing those who
work in teams to create simulation-based learning environments. Drawing on the authors'
experiences, and relevant case studies, it explores tensions, triumphs and the ongoing
learning involved in collaborative ventures producing effective online learning activities.
The view is 'from the engine room' at the point where technology and design expertise
reframe creative 'story boards' into 'interactive learning experiences'. Gaps between
existing and emergent expertise can cause friction, especially when requirements
associated with new skills are not understood or appreciated. We explore the potential for
aware and conscious leadership of collaborative simulation design spaces engaging in a
range of paradigmatic thinking and requiring productive harnessing of diversity.
Creating scenario based learning environments requires an understanding of both the
content, and the array of learning pathways now available for assuring acquisition of new
knowledge and insights. An appreciation of pitfalls likely to hinder this design process is
particularly vital. The process usually begins with a learning concept derived from some
identified need or goal, and progresses to development of a scenario for engaging and
challenging learners using face-to-face or online formats. Scenarios are developed using
specific, and specialised artefacts and technologies to create interactive learning
environments, and the introduction of computer-based technologies makes the process
even more complex, with highly specialised skills contributing particular elements. More
and more people are involved at each step, and an increasing number of specialisations
now contribute to the final product. We use existing Human Computer Interaction
practices to explore the designer - developer interface and consider how to develop aware
and conscious leadership from within this emergent complexity. Words penned by
Shalbafan, S, Leigh, E, Pollack, J & Sankaran, S 2015, 'Using simulation to create a time-bound, space-constrained context for studying decision-making in project portfolio management using the Cynefin® framework', Asia-Pacific Researchers in Organization Studies (APROS), UTS, Sydney.
Leigh, EE 2014, 'Identifying the competencies and capabilities of simulation professionals', Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), pp. 253-264.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Simulation Australia, the national body for simulation professionals in Australia, is developing an approach to documenting the skills and knowledge used by simulation professionals. The aim is threefold. The first and most basic is to identify an irreducible set of core knowledge and skills required by anyone using simulation in a professional manner in any context. The second goal involves developing a means of aligning the work of all users of simulation with these core skills and knowledge so that relevant professional competencies can be documented and demonstrated to exist within a professional field. The third involves developing the framework for a set of formal qualifications within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The project will face many difficulties and challenges. And there will be challengers. This chapter introduces the background to the project including the underlying models informing the initial stages of the work. It positions the ongoing research within a range of literature about the complexity of identifying the essentials of being a 'competent simulation professional'. This inevitably involves defining 'simulation' to establish some boundaries for the future work, and considering how this work will contribute to wider understanding of what it means to be a 'simulation professional'. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
Goldfinch, T, Leigh, EE, Dawes, L, Gardner, AP & McCarthy, T 2012, 'Engineering Across Cultures: New learning resources for intercultural competency in engineering', Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference for the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, AAEE - Annual Conference of Australasian Association for Engineering Education, The Engineering & Science Education Research (ESER) group, Faculty of Engineering & Industrial Scien, Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 1-9.
BACKGROUND The work described in this paper has emerged from an ALTC/OLT funded project, Exploring Intercultural Competency in Engineering. The project indentified many facets of culture and intercultural competence that go beyond a culture-as-nationality paradigm. It was clear from this work that resources were needed to help engineering educators introduce students to the complex issues of culture as they relate to engineering practice. A set of learning modules focussing on intercultural competence in engineering practice were developed early on in the project. Through the OLT project, these modules have been expanded into a range of resources covering various aspects of culture in engineering. Supporting the resources, an eBook detailing the ins and outs of intercultural competency has also been developed to assist engineering educators to embed opportunities for students to develop skills in unpacking and managing cross-cultural challenges in engineering practice. PURPOSE This paper describes the key principles behind the development of the learning modules, the areas they cover and the eBook developed to support the modules. The paper is intended as an introduction to the approaches and resources and extends an invitation to the community to draw from, and contribute to this initial work.
Litchfield, AJ, Raban, R, Dyson, LE, Leigh, EE & Tyler, JV 2009, 'Using Students' Devices and a No-To-Low Cost online Tool to Support Interactive Experiential mLearning', IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, IEEE Computer Society, Riga latvia, pp. 674-678.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The rapid evolution and ubiquitous use of mobile devices is an historical opportunity to improve experiential interactivity in education practices to support deep learning. A major barrier to the widespread adoption of mLearning in higher education is that of cost. Usage charges and the cost of mobile hardware are key issues. Opportunities to overcome this barrier include the high rate of ownership of mobile phones by university students and technological solutions such as packet transmission technologies. The paper introduces mInteract, a system which uses packet technology (mobile WAP/WML) to build no-to-low cost interactivity into learning spaces. The online tool supports active experiential learning transactions for both student and teacher. In 2008 mInteract was trialled in a subject with large numbers. Focus group feedback is presented that indicates high levels of engagement with both users and non-users of the tool.
Raban, R, Leigh, EE, Litchfield, AJ & Dyson, LE 2008, 'Using Internet-Enabled Mobile Devices to Support Low-Cost Experiential Learning', 11th International Conference on Experiential Learning (ICEL 2008): Identity of Experience: Challenges for Experiential Learning, 11th International Conference on Experiential Learning, ICEL, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-9.
This paper examines model-making, specifically prototyping, as a problem-based, and possibly experiential, learning activity. Prototyping activities are increasingly being introduced by schools of architecture around the world for the teaching of architectural design and construction technology. Such activities mediate between sophisticated digital modeling technologies, new materials and new construction techniques, and are a means of enabling students to oscillate between the abstract and the concrete: between the virtual world of the computer screen and the physical reality of a model built to scale from representative materials. This paper reviews the literature on what is being done and how. It discusses whether current prototyping activities are taking advantage of the large body of knowledge contained within theories of experiential learning and proposes that a series of guidelines should be formulated to inform the implementation of experimental prototyping activities in the architecture studio. The paper concludes with my own prototyping case study conducted at the University of Technology, Sydney in 2007, which was deliberately designed as an experiential learning activity. Perceptions of its successes and challenges are discussed. A hands-on construction activity will be provided to engage participants in this session.
Collier, K & Leigh, EE 2006, 'Developing an enquiry-based experiential curriculum for 21st century learning', ICEL 2006 Inspiring Leadership, ICEL, Brathay, Lancaster UK, pp. 42-48.
Leigh, EE, Daly, GM & Chatfield, M 2005, 'Simulation facilitators as managers of the 'promise of simulation'', Simulation - fulfilling the promise - Simtect 2005, Simulation Technology and Training Conference, SimTect, Sydney, Australia, pp. 411-416.
Leigh, EE 2004, 'Making learning a game', Proceedings of International Conference on the 'new methods in governmental management', Public Administration: New Technologies, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, pp. 184-196.
Leigh, EE & Spindler, LF 2004, 'Researching Congruency in Facilitation Styles', Bridging the Gap: Transforming Knowledge into Action through Gaming and Simulation, Conference for the International Simulation and Gaming Association, SAGSAGA, Munich, Germany, pp. 309-317.
Spindler, LF & Leigh, EE 2003, 'Understanding Yourself as a Facilitator of Simulations and Games', Social Contributions and Responsibilities of Simulation and Gaming: Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA), Conference for the International Simulation and Gaming Association, Japan Association of Simulation and Gaming (JASAG), Kazusa Akademia Park, Chiba, Japan, pp. 49-58.