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Mastering systems thinking in practice
Mastering systems thinking in practice

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4.2.1 Reflective learning

All this means learning systems thinking in practice is an intensely personal business. Don’t worry if you’re not used to reflective learning, you will be able to develop your capacities for learning this way, as you go. This is why it was important to think through what you want to achieve from the course. It can operate at a level beyond acquisition of skills and knowledge. Because it is about different styles of thinking, the process of thinking systemically can itself give rise to new forms of learning. It has the capability of bringing understanding into being from sources inside oneself. This is the process known as reflective learning.

For some people, systems thinking will be something they practice from time to time. It will be a set of tools-for-thought they use when the need arises. This is a powerful and important potential outcome from the course. The course can also lead you towards becoming systemic, as well as being about systems. You can use it to become a different sort of thinker.

Either way, I strongly urge you once again to do the activities. They are designed to enable you to discover your own learning by experience. They are much more important than the practice-makes-perfect quizzes which can only test ‘know what’ rather than ‘know how’ and ‘know why’. The activities will support you in making systems thinking and systems practice your own. Without them, systems thinking and systems practice remain ‘out there’ – something you may know about (description) but not know how to use (competence). This course has aspirations beyond that, which I hope you will come to share; to support you in becoming a systems thinker and a systems practitioner. This is why the activities so far appear to be focused on you. You might see them in terms of preparing the soil in which skills, competencies and confidence can grow.