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Data Analytics for Decision Making: An Introduction to Using Excel

Go beyond simply gathering information, and discover how to use data to improve real-life decisions.

61,811 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • Digital upgrade


In a world of big data, industries need big thinkers to harness its potential

More and more organisations are investing in big data. In fact, in the next two years 76% of companies are planning to increase their investment in data analytics. But it is not enough to simply gather information and crunch numbers; to stand out you must know how to analyse and use data to effectively improve real-life decisions.

Data analytics is the science of analysing raw data in order to make conclusions about that information. This course, taught by Bond University’s Associate Professor of Data Analytics Dr Adrian Gepp, introduces students to the use and application of data.

You will be introduced to methods used to describe data, as well as basic probability concepts needed to understand what the data means, and how it can be applied to improve business decisions. Using Microsoft Excel, you will learn practical methods to solve basic quantitative problems in business decision making.


  • Week 1

    Graphs, Descriptive Statistics, and Ethics

    • Welcome to the course

      In this activity, hear from your instructors Dr Adrian Gepp and James Todd as they outline the course you are about to start.

    • Graphical Techniques for Describing Data

      In this activity, Dr Adrian Gepp talks through some useful ways to describe data and gain insights through graphical displays.

    • Graphical Techniques for Describing Data with Excel

      In this activity, we will revisit the graphs and examples of Activity 2 to demonstrate how you can easily create them with Excel.

    • Descriptive Statistics for Summarising Data

      In this activity, we learn about summarising data into just a few useful numbers. We'll learn about statistics describing the central location, spread, and associations of our data.

    • The Role of Ethics in Data Analysis

      In this activity, hear from Dr Adrian Gepp about why ethics are important to bear in mind when performing data analysis and interpreting analysis produced by others.

  • Week 2

    Probability and beyond

    • Introduction to Probability for Discrete Random Variables

      In this activity, we'll preview the content for this week and provide an introduction to the idea of probability and terminology.

    • Event Relations

      In this activity, we'll build on our knowledge of probability by looking at how to calculate the probability of combinations of events occurring.

    • Discrete Random Variables

      In this activity, you'll learn about what discrete random variables are and how we can describe them using some familiar statistics.

    • Making Decisions under Uncertainty

      In this activity, we explore an example where a business decision must be made where project outcomes are uncertain.

    • The Environment for Analytics

      In this last activity, we hear from Professor Bruce Vanstone about the current environment for data analytics and data science.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe data using statistics and graphical techniques
  • Use the concepts of probability and discrete random variables to make business decisions
  • Understand the role of ethics in data analytics
  • Apply modern quantitative tools (Microsoft Excel) to data analysis in a business context
  • Understand the changing landscape of data science in the modern business world

Who is the course for?

This introductory course is for anyone who has an interest in data analytics or data science and how it can be used to improve business decision making. The content in this course can be applied to a range of industry sectors including health, sport, marketing, finance and more.

What software or tools do you need?

You will need access to any version of Microsoft Excel

Who will you learn with?

Dr Adrian Gepp is an Associate Professor at the Bond Business School, Bond University. Adrian researches in data analytics and has more than a decade of experience in teaching at a tertiary level.

James is a PhD candidate and teacher at Bond University. His research focuses on the practical application of data science tools in healthcare systems, with several peer-reviewed publications.

Who developed the course?

Bond University

Bond University is Australia’s #1 ranked university for student experience. Join their online courses to experience learning that puts your first.

What's included?

Bond University are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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