Reflective Teaching In A Digital Age

Using the System Architecture-Function-Outcome (SAFO) Framework to Teach Systems Thinking in Engineering with Dr. Rea Lavi

September 29, 2022 Season 3 Episode 4
Reflective Teaching In A Digital Age
Using the System Architecture-Function-Outcome (SAFO) Framework to Teach Systems Thinking in Engineering with Dr. Rea Lavi
Show Notes

Introducing engineering students to systems thinking early in their education is critical for their development and learning success. In this episode Dr. Rea Lavi talks to us about the System  Architecture-Function-Outcome (SAFO) framework he developed to help foster systems thinking in undergraduate students. He explains how this framework can be integrated in engineering teaching and used to assess systems thinking in first year engineering students.

Reference(s) mentioned in this episode:
Articles in peer-reviewed journals:
Aubrecht, K. B., Dori, Y. J., Holme, T. A., Lavi, R., Matlin, S., Orgill, M., & Skaza-Acosta, H. (2019). Graphical tools for conceptualizing systems thinking in chemistry education. Journal of Chemical Education, 96(12), 2888-2900.

Lavi, R., Dori, Y. J., Wengrowicz, N., & Dori, D. (2019). Model-based systems thinking: Assessing engineering student teams. IEEE Transactions on Education, 63(1), 39-47.

Lavi, R., Dori, Y. J., & Dori, D. (2021). Assessing novelty and systems thinking in conceptual models of technological systems. IEEE Transactions on Education, 64(2), 155-162.

York, S., Lavi, R., Dori, Y. J., & Orgill, M. (2019). Applications of systems thinking in STEM Education. Journal of Chemical Education, 96(12), 2742-2751.

Lavi, R., Breslow, L., Salek, M. M., & Crawley, E. F. (2022, Submitted). Fostering and assessing the systems thinking of first-year undergraduate engineering students using the System Architecture-Function-Purpose framework.

Other works:
Presentation: Teaching and Assessing Systems Thinking in First-year Engineering Education Download link:

LinkedIn article: A Cost-Effective Methodology for Tackling Ill-Defined Problems: A Case Study in an Undergraduate Project-Based Course

ResearchGate discussion: Are creative thinking and systems thinking related?

Dr. Rea Lavi is Lecturer and a Curriculum Designer with the New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) undergraduate program in the School of Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, where he leads the integration of 21st century skills into the program curriculum. In 2021, he received an award from the d’Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education to develop and teach a new undergraduate course at MIT School of Engineering, ‘22.s092 - Tackling Challenges in Climate and Sustainability with Ways of Thinking’.

Dr. Lavi received his Ph.D. in 2019 from the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. His research interests in STEM higher education involve the fostering and assessment of systems thinking and creative thinking within the context of complex problem-solving. His doctoral research received several awards, including the Zeff Fellowship for Excelling First-year Ph.D. Students and the Miriam and Aaron Gutwirth Fellowship for Excelling Ph.D. Students. Rea’s method for structured creative problem-solving, SNAP Method®, is trademarked in both the US and UK. From 2009–2013, he was involved in the founding and initial funding rounds of a biotech startup,