Abstract for: Making Each Other Smarter: Assessing Success Factors of Online Peer Mentoring Groups as Support for Learning System Dynamics
System Dynamics Society consists of many system dynamics (SD) experts and of unskilled SD enthusiasts who are not geographically close and have no or limited access to formal SD education. In 2016, the Student Chapter of the System Dynamics Society started a peer mentoring program, which aimed at forming small online system dynamics peer mentoring groups (PMGs). The aim was to connect people who needed support in their SD projects or who simply wanted to discuss SD topics, but who were lacking such support within their institutions. We recognized a need to increase the knowledge of how these groups function and the understanding of experiences of PMG members, as a basis for further improvement of the PMG program. We collected data by performing an online survey with past and present PMG members, and by interviewing group leaders and experienced faculty members. Many success and failure factors were identified, which can be used as guidelines in PMG program improvement. Furthermore, it became evident that most respondents recognized the importance of this program for both their professional growth and growth of the SD field. To further grow and formalize the PMG program, support of the System Dynamics Society leadership will be pivotal.