Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Jaradat, Ra'ed

Committee Member

Hamilton, Michael A.

Committee Member

Ma, Junfeng

Committee Member

Wang, Haifeng

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Industrial and Systems Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering


This dissertation develops virtual reality modules to capture individuals’ learning abilities and systems thinking skills in dynamic environments. In the first chapter, an immersive queuing theory teaching module is developed using virtual reality technology. The objective of the study is to present systems engineering concepts in a more sophisticated environment and measure students learning abilities. Furthermore, the study explores the performance gaps between male and female students in manufacturing systems concepts. To investigate the gender biases toward the performance of developed VR module, three efficacy measures (simulation sickness questionnaire, systems usability scale, and presence questionnaire) and two effectiveness measures (NASA TLX assessment and post-motivation questionnaire) were used. The second and third chapter aims to assess individuals’ systems thinking skills when they engage in complex multidimensional problems. A modern complex system comprises many interrelated subsystems and various dynamic attributes. Understanding and handling large complex problems requires holistic critical thinkers in modern workplaces. Systems Thinking (ST) is an interdisciplinary domain that offers different ways to better understand the behavior and structure of a complex system. The developed scenario-based instrument measures students’ cognitive tendency for complexity, change, and interaction when making decisions in a turbulent environment. The proposed complex systems scenarios are developed based on an established systems thinking instrument that can measure important aspects of systems thinking skills. The systems scenarios are built in a virtual environment that facilitate students to react to real-world situations and make decisions. The construct validity of the VR scenarios is assessed by comparing the high systematic scores between ST instrument and developed VR scenarios. Furthermore, the efficacy of the VR scenarios is investigated using the simulation sickness questionnaire, systems usability scale, presence questionnaire, and NASA TLX assessment.