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Free online course

Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World

This course will teach you the first principles of complexity, uncertainty and how to make decisions in a complex world.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, starting from when you join
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World

Why join the course?

Leaders must be able to act in a complex world and under uncertainty. This course is a first step to develop yourself into one of the future’s key decision makers or to enhance your decision-making skills.

First, this course will address what complexity is and will define uncertainty. Next, we cover a number of tools and methods to understand and be able to navigate through the complex and uncertain world.

The need for a multidisciplinary approach will be emphasised throughout the course. Guest lecturers from different faculties will explain, provide applications and examples from their respective fields of study for a more comprehensive understanding of the different elements of complexity. For example, complexity can be beautifully explained by the use of insects and brains and many other natural and social phenomena. The same ideas can be applied to economic and financial systems.

After introducing the first principles, guest lecturers will cover interdisciplinary aspects of complexity. These are graph theory and networks, emergent behaviour, agent-based modelling, evolutionary dynamics, cellular automata and self-organisation, complexity in history, decision making under uncertainty, heuristics and biases and subsequently entrepreneurship. Finally, relating this all back together in two case studies will conclude the course. The first case study is financial stability and crises and the latter is growth and development of cities.

By completing this course you will have developed skills and knowledge that will enhance your decision-making skills in order to act in a complex world and under uncertainty.

This course has received a major update in 2016 with added content on agent-based modelling, entrepreneurship and city planning.

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What topics will you cover?

  • Complex Systems
  • Fundamental Uncertainty
  • Graph Theory and Networks
  • Emergent Behaviour
  • Agent-Based Modelling
  • Evolutionary Dynamics
  • Cellular Automata
  • Self-Organization
  • Path dependence and complexity in History
  • Decision making under Uncertainty, Heuristics and Biases
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Stability and Crises
  • Growth and Development of Cities

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Explain the difference between complex and complicated
  • Explain the difference between risk and uncertainty
  • Explain the following concepts: emergence, networks, evolutionary dynamics, social self-organisation and path dependence
  • Experiment with complex systems in simple agent-based models.
  • Apply the course concepts and tools to the social sciences of history, entrepreneurship, economics and spatial planning
  • Debate how complexity and uncertainty influence human decision making and how you can counter these effects

Who is the course for?

Anyone should be able to participate in course. However, basic knowledge of economic, financial institutions, mathematics and logic will be helpful. The course will be taught at undergraduate level.

Who will you learn with?

Lex Hoogduin

I am professor at the university of Groningen (Complexity and Uncertainty). I have also a number of supervisory functions and have been advisor to the first president of the European Central Bank.

Who developed the course?

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £49.00

Statement of Participation £34.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Dispersed interactions at Poeleplein, Groningen
    About social complexity
    article

    This article discusses the meaning of social complexity.

  • Academic debate
    Academic debate
    video

    Professor Lex Hoogduin and Professor Harry Garretsen debate about the implications of uncertainty on scienct, the economy and society.

  • Introduction to evolutionary dynamics
    Introduction to evolutionary dynamics
    video

    This activity introduces evolutionary dynamics and its relations to dealing with a complex and uncertain world