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Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World

University of Groningen via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


To learn how complexity and uncertainty influence and constrain our decisions.

Our world seems to ever become more complex and uncertain. Future leaders must be able to act under these conditions.

This course provides you with the broad scientific background necessary to develop yourself into one of the future’s key decision-makers.

First, this course will address the core concepts of complexity and uncertainty. Next, guest lecturers will explore related sub-fields. Finally, the course will conclude by relating this all back together in case studies about financial stability and city development.

Anyone who needs to make decisions in a complex and uncertain context (e.g. managers and project coordinators). The course will be taught at undergraduate level. Basic knowledge of economic, financial institutions, mathematics and logic will be helpful.

In this course, we use the free Netlogo software to interact with agent-based simulation models.

Taught by

Lex Hoogduin


4.9 rating, based on 43 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World

  • Get a better understanding of Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World, and learn the difference between complex and complicated, between risk and uncertainty.

    Get to know better the concepts: emergence, networks, evolutionary dynamics, social self-organisation, path dependence, and more.

    Play with complex systems in simple agent-based models and apply the course concepts and tools to the social sciences of history, entrepreneurship, economics and spatial planning.

    This course in on the list of all-time best courses and for good reasons, a course that definitely made me look with different eyes to the world, including the pandemic we are currently facing.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It is a really well balanced course, although I must say that I have a knowledge in ecology, biology, math and a little bit of spatial planning, so for me it was just joy and I completed lessons every week, except for the last one.
    Additional information is really great and there is a lot of well-spent hours for those who seek more.
    For the others, keeping it on the edges of course in enough to have a really functional knowledge (I used a couple of thing from the course in my life the same week I found out about it) and wide enough base for future courses.

    Best regards to whole team.
  • I will try to do it in English (I'm spanish speaker from Chile). I took the course, basically because the name of it. It just call my attention. I was not sure of the scope of it, neither if would have something interesting for me. Since the first…
  • Anonymous
    I loved the course, it is very well prepared and one can follow it with joy and always learn and practice. All sessions were perfect for a beginner in the field and I just can recommend this course and just say a few words: It was awesome to go through it and have so many peers
  • Profile image for Zane Slocombe
    Zane Slocombe

    Zane Slocombe completed this course.

    A multi-disciplinary course, guaranteed to keep you interested from the start. The lecturers are very engaging and good communicators. Their enthusiasm for their subject is contagious.

    I am certain that if anybody would take this at degree level they would have a very well rounded and marketable degree at the end of it given the broad spectrum of subjects covered including evolutionary biology, sociology, mathematics, psychology and economics.
  • Pilar Reyes

    Pilar Reyes completed this course.

    This is an excellent course because of the quality of the material (videos and readings) and the structure of the content. Several experts share their knowledge about complexity, so learners have the opportunity to study the topic from different points of view. There are many quizzes that help learners to focus on the main points, and at the end, a case study is to be done in order for students to apply the concepts learned.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is a fascinating course which is clearly presented by university lectures from various disciplines, and which involves practical tasks as well as the lectures and written texts. There is also an optional case study to do so that you can put your newly acquired learning into practice. I would highly recommend this course.
  • Profile image for Jonah Ibiamagabara
    Jonah Ibiamagabara

    Jonah Ibiamagabara completed this course, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    The course was a clear introduction to the principles of complexity. The presentation style made learning easy, and the lecturers clearly explained the different concepts. It was a good use of six weeks.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course was excellent. I completed it but will refer back to a lot of the content for future use.
    It gave deep insights into how and why the Financial crisis happened .
    It covered risk, uncertainty, networks, City development, etc.etc
  • Noel Cosgrave

    Noel Cosgrave completed this course.

    A well-delivered and thorough introduction to the subject of complex systems and their relevance to our world. The lectures and accompanying notes were of very high quality. I would highly recommend this course to anyone even remotely interested in the subject matter.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    An excellent course of a very fascinating subject. There are many teachers each offering a unique perspective. I liked the definitions provided on the various concepts and the part on leadership and entrepreneurship. Excellent and much needed advice.
  • Anonymous
    I found this course very informative. Helped me form a better understanding of reality and the world around me.
  • William Haley

    William Haley completed this course.

    An enlightening course that helps you distinguish between those issues where outcomes are predictable and risk can be assessed from those where the outcomes are uncertain. Biology, psychology, economics and history are all used to explain how uncertainty is the usual predicament of the human and indeed the animal world. What strategies are there to help us and what can we learn from how animals have evolved to deal with uncertainty? Go on this course and find out. It will help you understand better the world you live in.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Well presented and very interesting. Parts were very relevant to my current research and have given me ideas as to how document some of the difficult areas.
    THe course also stimulated a good set of comments from other students which I greatly enjoyed
    I did all the course except the tests (which required payment) and due to non-course factors I didn't have time to do the end of course exercise - which looked an interesting challencge
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Great course for introduction to the idea of complexity and how they relate to (and are needed) for the modern world.

    It was not too strenous time wise (the 5 hours per week estimate was accurate), but required a lot of focus and engagement with the topics. The comments from other learners also made for interesting reading

    Also useful to get ideas of other areas to learn about.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is a very interesting, diverse, eclectic course dealing with approaches to decision-making when faced with complex issues. Lex, the course head, remained intimately involved in the comments section at the end of each lecture. Each of the individual lecturers provided a good delivery of the topics. I would thoroughly recommend the course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course will give you a better understanding of how our world works! Besides all the specific knowlegde about emergence, self organisation,tipping points etc. it made me accept the fact that the world is uncertain and that this is exactly what makes our world interesting.
  • Richard Sullivan completed this course.

    This is a great course and gets into a really interesting area. As others have said, an interdisciplinary course with lots of strands from different fields of study coming together. Great experience to explore with a truly global audience.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This was a fun course. this introduced the basic concepts of complexity theory and has some excellent case studies, examples and some basic tools to use. The instructors do a excellent job of communicating the content and keeping it engaging.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Great introductory course to complex adaptive systems, uncertainty, and decision making in an uncertain world. The course covers uncertainty, emergence, evolutionary dynamics, social evolution, networks agent-based modeling, self-organization etc.

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