Sanders, C.E., Fortner, A. R., Gibson, K. E., Lamm, K. W., & Lamm, A. J. (2022). Teaching Systems Thinking Concepts with Hypothetical Case Scenarios: An Exploration in Agricultural Education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 63(4), 135-150
Educators within agricultural and natural resource disciplines are tasked with educating students to critically engage with and problem-solve complex issues. As society’s relationship with science and technology changes, coupled with an information-dense environment, strategies for sustainably addressing complex issues are needed. One potential approach for strategically addressing complex problems is systems thinking, which emphasizes the interdependence of the components of systems from ecological, social, and economic perspectives, among others. A mixed-methods study was used to explore the applicability of hypothetical case scenarios (HCS) as a teaching method to introduce and engage students in using systems thinking related to the seafood industry. Findings suggested HCS engaged students to think critically about socio-scientific issues. Participants demonstrated systems thinking capacity when discussing their decision-making processes in the hypothetical cases. The current study demonstrated the pedagogical potential of using HCS to enhance systems thinking capacities for students in the ANR disciplines. Implications for education and recommendations for future research are discussed.