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Learning System Thinking: The role of semiotic and cognitive resources
Author(s): Maria Larsson Subject: Research
  Three empirical studies provide detailed analyses of video-recorded collaborative work in System Dynamics education. In a Masters program in environmental studies, students are introduced to systems thinking and the method of creating Causal Loop Diagrams and interactive computer models for analyzing and solving complex problems. They learn how to use the terminology, symbols and methods of a specific semiotic domain. The research questions concern how interacting with systems thinking tools affect students in the process of collaboratively analyzing and modeling complex problems, and how cognitive and semiotic resources are used in this process. The study provides a conceptual lens with which to discuss and perceive the complexity of learning to express knowledge with new representational tools: both its visual and spatial formalism and the related terminology. Three theoretical perspectives are applied: the socio-cultural perspective, the social semiotic, and the constructivist perspective.
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