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Complex thinking is a cognitive ability that allows people to solve problems using multiple approaches, forming flexible or creative thoughts and manipulating information; on the other hand, virtual learning environments allow students to learn in a variety of ways, so the symbiosis of both categories is important when addressing knowledge acquisition at the higher level. The study presents preliminary results of the project entitled "Higher education, complex thinking and transdisciplinarity. Design of a metacomplex virtual classroom model" through the application of an instrument designed and validated specifically for this research. The subjects of the study were students of the Virtual Education Department of the Universidad de Boyacá, Colombia, and students of Distance Education of the Universidad Mesoamericana, Mexico, in undergraduate and graduate courses of different disciplines. The sampling used was non-probabilistic with the simple random criterion, so that those selected were chosen because they were enrolled in a virtual course in semester 2022-1. A sample of 158 students who answered the questionnaire was obtained, and the fieldwork was carried out from April to May 2022 with the application of the instrument that was previously designed and validated. It is evident that most students are not familiar with the concept of complex thinking and its adjacent categories, however, there is a generalized belief of the benefits that the inclusion of these concepts and categories would have at the time of involving them in studies through virtual platforms. The research intention recognizes the postulates of different authors about complexity and how the concepts work and allow understanding of the needs to inhabit virtual classrooms and provoke moments of interaction, learning, interrelation and coexistence in the distance, from these theoretical-methodological indications it is expected to transform curricular the distance education programs of the universities studied.
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