Abstract for: Systems Thinking and System Dynamics Modeling to Facilitate Interdisciplinary Learning through an Undergraduate Course
Systems thinking instruction involves learner-centred approaches and as a learner-centric approach, project/problem-based teaching and learning is very much suitable to teach systems thinking through computer modeling and simulations. It also allows instructors to design projects based on global challenges and real-world problems so as to engage students in interdisciplinary settings. For this, Vensim is a visual computer modeling tool that augments students’ learning to conceptualize, document, simulate, analyse, and optimize models of dynamic systems they develop based on a project or a problem assigned. Learning from such projects will also enable students to use the knowledge gained to solve real-world complex problems of the 21st century. This paper is intended to present how systems thinking tools and concepts in combination with computer-based system dynamics modeling approach to model real-world energy issues can facilitate and promote university students’ interdisciplinary thinking and learning. It can also suggest that students are able to gain interdisciplinary knowledge and learning through project-based learning that required students to apply systems thinking and system dynamics modeling methodology. Implications for teaching and learning are also discussed. Keywords: Systems Thinking Curriculum, Systems Dynamics Modeling, Interdisciplinary Learning, Project-based learning, Computer-based Modeling and Simulations, Energy Systems.