June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Educational Research and Methods
12.1340.1 - 12.1340.16
Systems Thinking and Integrative Learning Outcomes
Although the eleven program educational outcomes in the ABET Engineering Criteria require considerable breadth and depth in the capabilities of engineering graduates, additional outcomes have been offered to encompass the modes of thinking required for engineering graduates. One of these additional outcomes is systems thinking. Many different subjects have at one time or another been included under the umbrella of systems thinking, but more specific statements of learning outcomes are required. The paper proposes a preliminary set of learning outcomes, based on framework which combines an established taxonomy of learning outcomes, the revised Bloom’s taxonomy, with a set of expectations for engineering graduates that has been supported by employers and at least twenty-two institutions.
Modern universities are facing numerous social and organizational challenges. Today, institutions have to deal with significant reductions in financial resources, increases in costs, demands for accountability for student learning outcomes, globalization, advancements in information technologies, and intense competition among numerous providers of education1–3. Universities are asked to produce graduates who are skilled in higher-order cognition, such as critical thinking and complex problem solving; behave in a principled ethical fashion; can accept and work harmoniously and productively with people unlike themselves; have the ability to adapt to diverse and changing situations; and take responsibility for their work4,5.
Modern educational organizations are no longer viewed as formal, rational and hierarchically closed systems with hierarchical control patterns. A way to address old organizational structures is to build learning organizations. For Senge a learning organization is “an organization that is continually expanding its capacity to create its future…it is not enough merely to survive (survival learning or adaptive learning)…adaptive learning must be joined by generative learning, learning that enhances our capacity to create”6, p.14. The primary purpose of higher education in this new paradigm will be producing learning, not providing instruction. The focus on campus is shifting from faculty teaching to student learning7,8, with emphasis on active learning and assessment of learning outcomes. The modern academic workplace is characterized by the increasing demands from stakeholders (e.g. accrediting bodies and employers) for documenting and improving student learning outcomes. Levine states that “with the individualization of education, growing diversity of students and the multiplication of providers, the emphasis will shift from standardizing process to measuring outcomes…the emphasis will change from how students are taught to determining how much students have learned”8, p. 265.
Froyd, J., & Pchenitchnaia, L., & Fowler, D., & Simpson, N. (2007, June), Systems Thinking And Integrative Learning Outcomes Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1614
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