Abstract for: Exploratory strategies for simulation-based learning about national development

This study investigated an instructional strategy to improve learning a complex model in a sys-tem dynamics based learning environment. The instructional strategy required subjects to ex-plore key variables by manipulating dynamic graphs. Design of the strategy was posited upon principles of reducing cognitive load, facilitating mental models, enhancing transfer, and manag-ing risk. Eight students who received the exploration strategy subsequently made better policy decisions than nine subjects who did not receive the strategy. Furthermore, the former subjects exhibited better understanding of the model and how to manage it than did the latter subjects, based upon their verbal descriptions.