Exploring the usefulness of a systems-based model from the perspective of biology students

S. Chandi, N. Reid, A. McWilliam, D. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explored students’ opinions about a systems-based model and its usefulness in terms of teaching and learning biology. The sample included 55 female college students aged 18-20 years, studying biology in two different colleges in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A two dimensional systems-based conceptual model was developed involving the notion of systems thinking, specifically the idea of levels of biological organisation. This model was used during and after the two teaching sessions. Students’ opinions towards this systems-based model were collected through questionnaires and also through students’ group presentations. The findings indicated that the systems-based model was found helpful by the students in a number of ways. These included retention and easy recall of information, organisation of thought, arrangement of information, development of their mental models, internalisation of the concept of levels of biological organisation and thinking in terms of levels of biological organisation. On the basis of the findings a systems-based model is recommended as an effective educational tool in biology education. However, the extent of its impact on students’ learning has yet to be explored. This study also has identified some issues for further future research in biology education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-85
Number of pages18
JournalScottish Educational Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Previously available at http://www.scotedreview.org.uk/pdf/126.pdf, link no longer active


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