Simulated Environments as Complex Systems: A Framework and Approach to Understanding E-Learning (Part 1)
Abstract: This symposium addresses the benefits and potential for a complex systems perspective when conducting educational technology and learning research. Complex systems characterize technological contexts as dynamic, emergent, and interactive. Research in these environments is challenging, nuanced, and difficult. New frameworks and methods to conduct and guide research are necessary. The discussion is approached from various levels, from micro transactions within a system to broad and macro perspectives that merge findings into actionable pedagogical theory. Four papers/topics combine a theoretical lens to address difficult questions in technological contexts with concrete examples, data, and findings: 1) framing Virtual Reality technology as a complex system, 2) complex systems research in studying counterfactual thinking and its role in video game behavior, 3) understanding how to frame questions, capture data, and undertake research within the complex systems view, and 4) formative assessments and the application of complex systems research to practice.