Learning Systems Thinking

In side conversations with @Robert_Best, the question has come up about the best way to learn system thinking. I’ve had some experience teaching some courses.

In winter 2018, I taught (in what my Creative Sustainability colleagues at Aalto U. would call “Systems Thinking 1”) a course at the University of Toronto. The syllabus is preserved at http://coevolving.com/utoronto/201801-SystemsThinking-SystemsDesign/ , and the a reflection on the course is at http://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/eight-infographics-on-systems-methods-utoronto-ischool-2018/ .

In winter 2016, I had taught “Systems Thinking 2” at Aalto U. The syllabus is at http://coevolving.com/aalto/201602-st2-muo-e8004/ , and a reflection on the course is at http://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/eight-infographics-from-systems-thinking-2-2016/ .

Both of these courses were designed to be done in person. In particular, the student do most of the presentation work, since the best way to learn is to teach.

For distance learning, I highly recommend the courses at the Open University, https://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/engineering-technology/systems-thinking-free-courses . I know some of the instructors, and they’re solid.

:speech_balloon: Reposted from https://chat.diglife.coop/openlearning/channels/systems-thinking on a thread around Feb. 23, 2019.

While I’m not employed full-time at universities, I have had the occasion to teach courses on systems thinking. Systems Thinking should be done in more than one course. In 2010-2011, I had originally taught two courses, “Systems Thinking 1” and “Systems Thinking 2”. This is summarized in a paper, “2011/07 Systems Thinking Courses in the Master’s Programme on Creative Sustainability at Aalto University: Reflections on Design and Delivery of the 2010-2011 Sessions” at http://coevolving.com/commons/201107-systems-thinking-creative-sustainability

In January-February 2018, “Systems Thinking 1” evolved into a course taught at the UToronto iSchool, see http://coevolving.com/utoronto/201801-SystemsThinking-SystemsDesign/

In February 2016, “Systems Thinking 2” was taught in the Aalto University master’s programme in Creative Sustanability, at http://coevolving.com/aalto/201602-st2-muo-e8004/

The artifacts persist. If I had an opportunity to mount these two courses again, they would be refined. The 2016 web pages were criticized as being ugly, but I insist that content that I put on the web not break down (i.e. static HTML is a better choice than using a CMS that has to be upgraded). In 2018, I decided that Bootstrap themes were manageable, so I hand-coded that HTML to be slightly less ugly.

:speech_balloon: Reposted from https://chat.diglife.coop/openlearning/channels/systems-thinking on a thread around March 18, 2019.

So, I landed here … exploring after discobot tutorial (yes, I did not ‘at’). This topic is the down and dirty essential challenge. It seems to me that nurturing systems-thinking in the youngest of minds would sure be a better strategy than trying to re-shape minds already on not-especially ‘systems oriented’ mindways paths.

It’s easy to shape a sappling or young Bonzai tree … not so easy (read here: “practically impossible”) to redirect a “many years” layered thick tree trunk! :wink: integrity paraphrasing Confucius @confucious :joy:

1 Like
Creative Commons Licence Contributions to the Open Learning Commons are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Please honor the spirit of collective open learning by citing the author(s) in the context of a dialogue and/or linking back to the original source.