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What are systems thinking and practice? The essence of systems thinking and practise is in ‘seeing’ the world in a particular way, because how you ‘see’ things affects the way you approach situations or undertake specific tasks. This course will help you to learn about the problems of defining a system and meet some of the key concepts used in systems theory: boundary, environment, positive and negative feedback, etc.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • display confidence in using systems concepts and language
  • describe accurately the set of key systems concepts
  • understand what is distinctive about systems thinking as opposed to other forms of thinking
  • understand how systems thinking is useful in analysing and improving situations
  • understand the notion of a system as a creation of the observer, i.e. as an intellectual construct, as opposed to using the term system in other ways, i.e. as entities that exist ‘out there’.

Course Curriculum

Section 1
1.1 How to use this course 00:30:00
Section 2
2.1 What is this systems thing about? 00:20:00
Section 3: Ways of thinking
Ways of thinking Part 1 00:20:00
3.1 Logical thinking 00:20:00
3.2 Causal thinking 00:30:00
3.3 Reductionist thinking 00:25:00
3.4 Holistic thinking 00:30:00
3.5 Multiple partial views 00:20:00
3.6 Perspectives 00:40:00
3.7 Distinguishing worldview from perspective 00:08:00
3.8 Summary 00:25:00
Section 4: Systems thinking
4.0 Systems thinking 00:15:00
4.1 Thinking in systems 00:35:00
4.2 Summary 00:20:00
Section 5: Types of systems
5.0 Types of systems 00:20:00
5.1 Definition of a system 00:30:00
5.2 The language of systems 01:20:00
5.3 Summary 00:55:00
Section 6: Final Phase
Conclusion 00:10:00

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