I love to help people solve problems. My work concerns complex problem-solving and the thinking skills it involves, focusing on creative thinking and systems thinking. I have a PhD in science & engineering education and seven years of experience in researching, developing curriculum, teaching, and assessing these skills in higher education. In my work, I draw on concepts, methods, and solutions from systems engineering, education research, management science, and cognitive psychology.
~Course Designer and Instructor~
I recently received an award from the d'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education to develop and teach a new upcoming (spring '22) undergraduate course for MIT School of Engineering, titled '22.s092 - Tackling Challenges in Climate and Sustainability with Ways of Thinking'. Students will engage with conceptual modeling, structured brainstorming, prototyping, and more. View the syllabus at shorturl.at/kmwC4
As instructional designer for an edX Professional Certificate Program in model-based systems engineering (two MOOCs: Foundations and Advanced), my work has helped achieve 7,863 enrollments and 1,188 paid certifications from March 2019 till today (and still going). The program was selected as the institute nominee for for the edX 2020 International Prize by the Technion - Israel institute of Technology.
My First-Year Discovery course, titled 'SP.248 - NEET Ways of Thinking', has been a major source of enrollment for the undergraduate program I work for, with 1/3 of my students joining the program in Fall 2021 (start of their sophomore year) as 1/4 of the new cohort. View the syllabus at https://bit.ly/3qxmVVJ
~Researcher and Developer~
I received several awards for my doctoral research on systems thinking, including the Zeff Fellowship for Excelling First-year PhD Students and the Miriam and Aaron Gutwirth Fellowship for Excelling PhD Students. I have published my work on systems thinking and on other topics in a variety of journals, including IEEE Transactions on Education and Studies in Educational Evaluation.
I invented the SNAP Method for structured creative problem-solving (US & UK registered trademarks). The method is implemented in two software apps: SNAP Method Alpha for remote collaborative problem-solving; and SNAP Companion for customized YouTube search for creativity-inducing videos based on a short description of a problem.
Rea Lavi, PhD | Researcher, Developer, Teacher
Structured methods and innovative tools for complex problem-solving
Lecturer and Curriculum Designer– MIT, Cambridge, MA
11/2019 - Present
New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) program
- Cross-departmental, project-centric, three-year program (sophomore to senior)
- Leading the integration of 21st century skills into program curriculum
- Conducting programmatic evaluation with MIT Open Learning
- Developing educational content with School of Architecture, School of Humanities, and MIT Libraries
- Teaching systems thinking to students enrolled in the program
Outside of NEET:
- Teaching a first-year class in applying creative thinking and systems thinking to multidisciplinary challenges.
- Teaching approaches for tackling complex problems to senior faculty and administration with MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL)
Instructional Designer – Technion, Israel
10/2017 - 10/2019
- Professional Certificate program (two MOOCs) on edX.org (MIT & Harvard)
- Institute nominee for the International edX Prize 2020
- Launched on March 2019, sponsored by Whirlpool Corporation
- Five cohorts as of January 2021; 7,863 enrolled; 1,188 paid for certification (and still going)
- Designed syllabus and authored 60 screenplays
- Designed learning assessment and developed hundreds of exercises
- Collaborated with instructors, production team, and software developers
Instructor | Teaching Assistant – Technion
3/2016 - 7/2019
- Designed and instructed academic courses and professional development workshops
- Topics covered: complex problem-solving; creative thinking; entrepreneurship; systems thinking; conceptual modelling of systems
- Taught hundreds of undergraduate and graduate STEM students, STEM high school teachers, and engineers (including Airbus SAS & Whirlpool Corporation)
Research Coordinator – The Henrietta Szold Institute, Israel
- The National Institute for Research in the Behavioral Sciences
- Developed a test for assessing the creative thinking of candidates for a young inventors program
- Managed marketing and brought in a record 373 candidates for testing
Research Manager – diagnostics.ai, UK & Israel
11/2009 - 12/2014
- ML-driven automated data analysis for pathogen testing (pcr.ai)
- Instrumental in founding and initial funding rounds of biotech startup
- Managed and conducted research for marketing and patent applications
Operations Manager – All the Shades of Grey Ltd., UK
6/2008 - 10/2009
- Eventually spun off into diagnostics.ai
- Managed custom software development projects
- Authored a marketing plan that contributed to an increase of 50% in sales from 2008-2009
Information Specialist, First Sgt. – IDF Military Intelligence Directorate
12/2000 - 12/2003
PhD, 95.7% – Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, Technion
2015 - 2019
- Thesis advisor: Prof. Yehudit Judy Dori
- Thesis title: ''Investigating 21st Century Skills in STEM Higher Education''
- Collaborative research with the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management
- Student Union Representative of graduate students in the Faculty of Education in Science and Techology
MEd, Cum Laude – School of Education, Bar Ilan University, Israel
2010 - 2013
- Curriculum Planning and Management track
- Thesis advisor: Prof. Baruch Offir
- Thesis title: ''Assessing the Judgement of Secondary School Science Teachers Regarding the Scientific Creativity Level of their Students''
Biology BSc and Psychology BSc – Tel Aviv University, Israel
2004 - 2009
Brain sciences track
Grants, Fellowships, and Awards
PI Dr. L. Breslow, $34,968
- 2021 - MindHandHeart Community Innovation Fund Project Grant
P. I. Prof. Y. J. Dori, Grant number 2026787, $19,745
- 2016-7 - The Miriam and Aaron Gutwirth Fellowship for Excelling PhD students
$21,600 equivalent in ILS
- 2016-7 - Technion Graduate School and Gordon Center for Systems Engineering Research Fellowship
P. I. Prof. Y. J. Dori, Grant number 2023427, $10,000
- 2016 - The Kaplan Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Education Research
$1,100 equivalent in ILS
- 2015-6 - Zeff Fellowship for Excelling First-year PhD Students
$20,600 equivalent in ILS
- 2015-6 - Technion Graduate School and Gordon Center for Systems Engineering Research Fellowship
P. I. Prof. Y. J. Dori, Grant number 2021756, $8,574
Membership in Organizations
- 2020-Present: The International Council on Systems Engineering – Israeli Chapter (INCOSE-IL)
- 2020-Present: Technion Alumni Association
- 2019-Present: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
- 2019-Present: IEEE Education Society
- 2016-Present: NARST
Lavi, R., Tal, M., & Dori, Y. J. (2021). Perceptions of STEM alumni and students on developing 21st century skills through methods of teaching and learning. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 70. DOI: 10.1016/j.stueduc.2021.101002.
Lavi, R., Bathe, M., Hosoi, A., Mitra, A., & Crawley, E. (2021). The NEET Ways of Thinking: Implementing them at MIT and assessing their efficacy. Advances in Engineering Education, 9(3), 1-19. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WHUxDYCl2PosSzOTzzmU7bf2IADgZl-X/view
Lavi, R., Dori, Y. J., & Dori, D. (2021). Assessing novelty and systems thinking in conceptual models of technological systems. IEEE Transactions on Education, 64(2), 155-162. DOI: 10.1109/TE.2020.3022238.
Lavi, R., Dori, Y. J., Wengrowicz, N., & Dori, D. (2019). Model-based systems thinking: Assessing engineering student teams. IEEE Transactions on Education, 63(1), 39-47. DOI: 10.1109/TE.2019.2948807
Lavi, R., & Dori, Y. J. (2019). Systems thinking of pre- and in-service science and engineering teachers. International Journal of Science Education, 41(2), 248-279. DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2018.1548788
Lavi, R., Shwartz, G., & Dori, Y. J. (2019). Metacognition in chemistry education: A literature review. Israel Journal of Chemistry, 59, 583-597. DOI: 10.1002/ijch.20180008
Maital, S. & Lavi, R. (2019). Can effective creative thinking be taught to and implemented by students? Poster presented in the 41st International School Psychology Association conference, Basel, Switzerland, July 9-12, 2019.
Avargil, S., Lavi, R., & Dori, Y. J. (2018). Students’ metacognition and metacognitive strategies in science education. In Y. J. Dori, Z. Mevarech, and D. Baker (Eds.), Cognition, Metacognition and Culture in STEM Education (pp. 33-64). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Dori, D., Kohen, H., Jbara, A., Wengrowicz, N., Lavi, R., Soskin, N. L., ... & Shani, U. (2020). OPCloud: An OPM Integrated Conceptual-Executable Modeling Environment for Industry 4.0. In R. S. Kenett, R. S. Swarz, and A. Zonnenshain (Eds.), Systems Engineering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Big Data, Novel Technologies, and Modern Systems Engineering (pp. 243-272). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.