Evaluation of soft systems methodology (Mode 2) toward online distance education improvement - case of Saudi Arabia. 1st Social and Business Research Lab (SBRLab) Conference, Tarragona, Spain, December 2015

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Learning and understanding about complex situations is considered now a key issue in implementing information systems (IS) and technologies (ICT), when it comes to online distance education or ODE. Systems thinking literature has discussed Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), Mode 2, as a learning approach that facilitates learning among stakeholders at different levels of the social organization prior to or during IS/IT design and implementation (Checkland and Scholes, 1990). Engagement of different people’s views, ideas, and goals within this learning process can support the improvement of the whole system of human activity as most individuals concentrate more on their activities and less on other processes in the system.

SSM- Mode 2 still needs more research and exploration. This paper discusses SSM- Mode 2 as a proposed methodology to learn about and improve online distance education (ODE) systems management. Soft systems thinking is used as a conceptual lens to conduct and analyse data in a higher education institution in Saudi Arabia. Our preliminary findings suggest the value of an alternative, soft systems-thinking perspective to support learning via SSM mode 2 and could contribute to develop more inclusive and efficient online distance educational practices.

Keywords: Systems Thinking; Soft Systems Methodology (SSM); Mode 2; Online Distance Education (ODE); Learning.

Conference track: Solutions from a Management Perspective.

ISBN: 978-84-8424-410-3
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Event1st International Virtual Conference Social & Business Research Lab (SBRlab) - Spain, Tarragona, Spain
Duration: 7 Dec 201511 Dec 2015


Conference1st International Virtual Conference Social & Business Research Lab (SBRlab)


  • Soft systems methodology
  • online distance education
  • Learning
  • Soft Systems Thinking

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