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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.
After reading this unit you should be able to:
- appreciate diagrams as a powerful aid to thinking and acting;
- distinguish between systems diagrams and diagrams helpful in systems work;
- demonstrate sufficient skills to ‘read’ and ‘draw’ a wide range of diagrams, following given conventions, that help improve your understanding of a situation;
- select diagrams suited to the needs of the situation you are investigating and the purposes/preferences of you as the diagrammer.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 How to use this unit
- 1.1 What is a diagram?
- 1.2 Why do people use diagrams?
- 1.2.1 Influences on how we perceive diagrams
- 1.2.2 Visualisers and verbalisers
- 1.2.3 Gender and cognitive styles
- 1.2.4 Conveying information to others
- 1.2.5 Thinking through diagrams
- 1.2.6 Working with other people's diagrams – representing text as diagrams
- 1.2.7 Key points
- 1.2.8 Working with other people's diagrams – reading diagrams
- 1.2.9 Reading diagrams: questioning what they say
- 1.2.10 Key points
- 1.3 Why do systems thinkers use diagrams?
- 1.3.1 Systems thinking and concept
- 1.3.2 Systems diagrams and diagrams helpful for systems work
- 1.3.3 Diagrams for understanding
- 1.3.4 Diagrams for connectivity
- 1.3.5 Diagrams for further analysis and quantitative model building
- 1.3.6 Diagrams for diagnosis
- 1.3.7 Diagrams for planning and implementation
- 1.3.8 Diagrams for communication
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Pictures speak louder than words. But how can you use diagrams to help you? This unit 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.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 study in
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Systems (Computer) courses or view the range of currently available OU Systems (Computer) courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 25th July 2011
Last updated on: Wednesday, 1st August 2012
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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