Motivation among university students in Taiwan is on the decline. Students wanting to explore curriculum beyond their departments run up against inflexible rules while those seeking to apply what they have learned outside the classroom find few opportunities to do so. Feeling stuck, more and more students are taking leaves of absence. Many will not return. National Taiwan University (NTU), the nation’s premier institution, is not exempt from this trend.
NTU envisions being the first-mover to change this status quo by building a learner-centered and open university. NTU puts emphasis not only on the recreation of the future university, but also students’ self-actualization by providing the opportunity for learners to be themselves through holistic development.
By holding systems thinking workshops and numerous interviews, Omplexity and NTU co-created the Future University Systems Map, depicting the challenges learners faced.
We found that multiple factors such as the balance between what students learn and their competencies, and the pressure of getting good grades both result in low learning motivation, and in turn making students reluctant to study, which creates a vicious cycle.
To reverse the vicious cycle so that it drives self actualization, NTU started to design programs, including Trans-disciplinary Bachelor Program and Design Your Course, increasing opportunities for self-exploration. By these programs, NTU hopes that students will be more certain of their learning direction, which transforms the previous vicious cycle into a brand-new positive reinforcing loop.
It is Omplexity’s pleasure to collaborate with National Taiwan University, co-design the Future University and contribute to education for the next generation.
A theory of systems change map identifies the key growth dynamics -- the virtuous cycles -- that need to be cultivated in order that the system can make a paradigm shift beyond the status quo. These, as well as the balancing loops that may limit change, can point us to potential leverage points.