Abstract for: Learning by Doing - A Path to Creating Original System Dynamics Modeling Projects

In this workshop, we will demonstrate teaching system dynamics modeling using a method that Prof. Richardson has developed, in which students are taken through a progression consisting of the following modelling projects: • Introduction – Kaibab Plateau • Intermediate – Replication • Advanced – Original The core of this methodology is the belief that the best way to learn modeling is by practicing it from the first day of class, with a gradual progression in content and difficulty. This process of learning-by- doing guides students, in the course of one semester, through three cases of increasing complexity, with students taking increasing responsibility for understanding, defining, and modeling a problem. Each step is chosen because it supplements the learning done in the previous step. For example, in the Kaibab Plateau exercise, each sector builds upon the previous one by adding new variables or functions. The replication modeling exercise introduces students to “real world” models produced by system dynamics practitioners and encourages students to understand, duplicate, and then extend the models. This exercise is then expanded in the original modeling project into students developing their own models based on problems they wish to investigate, which can then be used for thesis or dissertation work.