This research focused on presenting the difference between the basic concepts of System Dynamics such as stocks, flows and feedback, and the situation that learners analyzed their problems after they took ten to twelve hours System Dynamics course. Generally, in order to interpret the outside world because, we usually developed a variety of cognition structures that were in turn transformed into schemas based on our life experiences or accumulated knowledge. As a result, when we are learning new concepts inconsistent with our existent schemas, it is often very hard to have our cognition structures modified. Moreover, it is very likely that we tend to misunderstand these new concepts when we apply them. The purpose of this research is to find out how our existent schemas affect our learning of systems thinking. The major findings of this research are stated as follows:
First,“direct causal relationship”tends to perceive that cause and effect are closely related in time and space, and that the relations between stocks and flows are static. As a result, the stocks and flows inferred by the learners often lack accumulation relaitonships. Second,“simplistic rule”tends to avoid detail and thorough classification of information that usually leads to ambiguity and unquantifiablity of factors. Third, “direct causal relationship”and“simplistic rule”that presumes system boundary of a specific period of stocks often excluded a number of factors that ought to exist in the system. Fourth,“one-way causal framework”is a kind of simplistic linear causal pattern which considers that a cause only affects one outcome; “direct causal relationship”focuses on the causal relationships between close factors. Both of them tend to prevent the ability of detecting feedback loops in the system. Finally, “direct causal relationship” that analyzes the relationship between stocks and flows from a static causal perspective and “simplistic rule” that presumes specific system boundaries tend to make the learners mistake the stocks that are in fact crucial.
Based on the research findings stated above, the following suggestions for future research are proposed. First, future research may consider to analyze learners’ reports focusing on different type of problems so as to identify the relationships between the situations that learners apply the basic concepts of System Dynamics and the types of the problems. Second, future researchers may consider to observe the learners in the process of learning systems thinking and make interviews so as to collect first hand data for conducting analyses. Finally, it is suggested that a pretesting and posttesting research design that compares the situations of the learners in analyzing problems before and after they take the systems thinking course may be considered so as to learn the real effects of the course.