Abstract for: Guiding novices with abstract rules – the case of variables recognition

This paper addresses the need to give modeling novices abstract rules to follow. We challenge the assumption that SD modeling is an art that cannot be described in such rules and focus on model conceptualization to develop a concrete example. We select one elementary skill from the SD competence development framework: the ability to discover variables in written or spoken text. No other modeling task can be carried out without first establishing a set of variables. We propose a procedure for this skill and apply it to three exemplary cases. We show that in each of the examples, applying the procedure generates a variable set which is almost identical to the set of variables an experienced modeler would propose. We close identifying some limitations and future steps.