Abstract for: Using Online Interactive Learning Environments to Map Student Learning

Unlike other types of cognitive activity, systems thinking (ST) is not an intuitive or innate skill (Assaraf & Orion 2005). When thinking about a systems problem, most people do not naturally think about all things connected to the problem or the interrelationships within the system. Thus, it is necessary to train this skill very explicitly (Hung 2008, Monat & Gannon 2015, Gharajedagh 2011). However, the question remains whether or not different approaches to learning require different ST instruction. In order to answer this question, a new method of mapping student learning and acquisition of ST skills needed to be developed. This research builds on Online Interactive Learning Environments (OILE) that were developed and used with master’s students in the system dynamics program at the University of Bergen, Norway (Tadesse & Davidsen, 2019). Findings from the Bergen study showed that OILE can provide learners with supportive feedback on their performance. Building on the OILE assessment process this research goes beyond supporting SD education with OILE by using the OILE process to map how different types of learners develop ST skills. The overall purpose of this research is to identify why different types of learners are struggling to develop systems thinking skills.