Teaching System Analysis and Design through Experiential Learning

By: Francine Vachon  

The systems development life cycle (SLDC) is a complex process that often results in costly failures for businesses. Most failures result from human factors: incomplete or faulty requirements, user resistance, lack of user involvement, know-it-all developers, amongst others. In a systems analysis and design, students learn theoretical aspects and technical skills, such as project management, data flow diagrams, normalization, entity-relationship diagrams, database design or software customization. However, the greatest difficulty resides in understanding the human factors that impact SLDC. I teach system analysis and design through service-learning to help students understand the human aspect and organization politics of SLDC. At the beginning of the term, students form teams. Each team will then go through the whole SLDC to build and deliver an information system for a local non-profit organization or a small business. As they learn a new concept, they apply it immediately to their project. At the end of the term, they present and deliver their project and their system to their clients. Students gain a deeper understanding of their craft as well as practical experience. In this paper, I will discuss the lessons I learned from my students’ projects as well as best practices developed over the years. Critical success factors will be discussed.

SDLC Teaching, Experiential Learning, Human Aspects of Technology, Knowledge Sharing
Technologies in Knowledge Sharing
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Francine Vachon

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Goodman School of Business, Brock University, Canada
Ontario, Canada

Francine Vachon is an associate professor of information systems at the Goodman School of Business. She teaches MIS, business modelling, e-business applications, and systems analysis and design. Francine has a B.Sc. (mathematics/business computing), M.Sc. in project management and Ph.D. in administration (information systems). Her current research interests concern how individuals adapt to new information and communication technologies and how these ICT impact their lives.