Published by
Open University

The UK's Open University provides a range of free online courses that explore systems as a subject in its own right, and subjects which can be understood through the application of systems thinking. Examples include:

Systems thinking and practice

The essence of systems thinking and practice 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 free 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.

Systems diagramming

Pictures speak louder than words. But how can you use diagrams to help you? This free course, Systems diagramming, looks at how diagrams can be used to represent information and ideas about complex situations. You will learn how to read, draw and present diagrams to help illustrate how ideas or processes are connected.

Systems modelling

Maps and plans, architects and engineers, drawings, graphs and tables: all are models we use in everyday life. This free course, Systems modelling, will introduce you to the modelling process, enabling you to recognise that systems models may be used in different ways as part of a process for: improving understanding of a situation; identifying problems or formulating opportunities and supporting decision making.

Mastering systems thinking in practice

Are you thinking about studying Systems Thinking at postgraduate level and want to become equipped with the knowledge and skills to do so successfully? Do you want to develop new ways of thinking about and approaching situations that cross multiple discipline and skills boundaries? Do you want to learn to think more holistically about complex and messy situations, understand the roles other people play, taking account of the interconnectedness of all the components making up the problem situations and working more collaboratively? If so, then this free badged course, Mastering systems thinking in practice is for you.