1.3 Getting the Most From This Course

I'm sure you are excited to learn more about Systems Thinking. To get the most out of this course, follow these four steps.

1. Follow each section sequentially

Systems Thinking is a set of concepts. In this course, each section builds upon concepts introduced in the previous section. Therefore be sure to complete one section before starting the next one.

2. Practice and try answering the thinking questions

As the saying goes, "Practice makes perfect" and one of the best ways to learn is to understand how it relates to your own world. As you progress, see if you can relate the ideas to your life or your working environment. Try completing all of the thinking questions as a way to practice applying these concepts before moving onto the next section.

3. Get comfortable with no "right" answer

In Systems Thinking you will soon find out that there is rarely a "right" answer when understanding systems. "It depends" on what purpose you have, and how you model the system. Imagine asking each of your team members, "What do you find interesting?" It's likely you will get many different answers, and it doesn't make one answer better or worse. As you learn more about Systems Thinking, don't worry about "being right" or "being wrong." Focus on whether or not it helps you learn or generate new insights.

In particular, when you try the "Thinking Questions" do not expect a single "right answer." There are many different possible ones but I have provided an example response to help you gather a different perspective.

4. Start with Pen and Paper

Throughout the course, you will find exercises that require drawing diagrams of models. Although there are many tools (you can find a list in 6.3 Further Reading & Resources), I have personally found the best way to do this is by hand. If you're in an office, a whiteboard is a good tool but if not, then start with a pen/pencil and paper. I actually don't have a preferred tool.