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Does teaching students how to explicitly model the causal structure of systems improve their understanding of these systems?
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Military Studies, Military-Technology Division.
2014 (English)In: European Journal of Engineering Education, ISSN 0304-3797, E-ISSN 1469-5898, Vol. 39, no 4, 391-411 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

If students really understand the systems they study, they would be able to tell how changes in the system would affect a result. This demands that the students understand the mechanisms that drive its behaviour. The study investigates potential merits of learning how to explicitly model the causal structure of systems. The approach and performance of 15 system dynamics students who are taught to explicitly model the causal structure of the systems they study were compared with the approach and performance of 22 engineering students, who generally did not receive such training. The task was to bring a computer-simulated predator-and-prey ecology to equilibrium. The system dynamics students were significantly more likely than the engineering students to correctly frame the problem. They were not much better at solving the task, however. It seemed that they had only learnt how to make models and not how to use them for reasoning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 39, no 4, 391-411 p.
Keyword [en]
engineering education research, modelling, external representations, dynamic systems
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-5242DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2014.881320OAI: diva2:782120
Available from: 2015-01-20 Created: 2015-01-20 Last updated: 2016-02-11Bibliographically approved

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Jensen, Eva
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