Next, in the exercising of your diagramming skills, I want to look at sign graphs. Unlike the three diagram types you have already drawn, a sign graph is not usually used to structure the understanding of complexity. This means it is likely to be relatively less useful in the task of searching for system within the complex situation described in the case study. Sign graphs can, however, be useful once some elements of system have been identified. They can support the exploration of
Author(s): The Open University

5.5 Multiple-cause diagrams

Multiple-cause diagrams are another way of using interconnectedness to structure a complex situation. In this case, the interconnectedness is that of causation. Multiple-cause diagrams represent both sufficient and contributory cause, without making a distinction between them. Drawing multiple-cause diagrams allows for the identification of systems of causation. Such a system can be pictured as an interconnected group of events or effects; the effect is of a system that behaves
Author(s): The Open University

9.3 Systems maps: Drawing systems maps

The next step is to draw some systems maps. The art of drawing effective systems maps lies, I believe, in finding an appropriate balance. The balance lies somewhere between the learning, which comes from the process of drawing the maps, and the uses I might make of the end product.

If you have already had some experience of drawing systems maps, you will know the process generates insights and understanding by itself. This comes from having to decide what to include and what to e
Author(s): The Open University

9.1 Making sense of complexity

This section is about finding ways of thinking about complex situations â€“ making sense of complexity. This is a process of discovery. It involves thinking about complexity in an orderly way that allows you to enter a deeper understanding of the complexity. It goes beyond immersion in, and representation of, complexity.

The invitation I am making in this section is to move into the possibility of structuring complexity. Notice I am not suggesting there is structure in the
Author(s): The Open University

8.2 Stakeholder traps

I've found it's not at all uncommon to discover I have a stake in a situation. Complex situations often spread their tentacles into all sorts of areas, so that the number of people touched by them can be very large. This increases the chances of an individual acquiring a stake, even an indirect or second hand one. The human capacity to empathise draws me into a situation so that I form pre-judgements about fairness, blame and so on without really trying. In many ways this is to be welcomed â€
Author(s): The Open University

7.2.5 Trap 5: the final version trap

Ironically, the biggest mistake you can make, having got this far, is to assume your picture is finished. New realisations will crop up. Add these to your picture as you appreciate more and more of the complexity.

So, the check for avoiding this trap is to ask:

• Have I had any new insights about the complex situation since I last added something to this picture?

Author(s): The Open University

7.2.4 Trap 4: words and wordiness

I have seen some effective rich pictures with lots of words in them but they are quite rare in my experience. More often, lots of words make the rich picture less rich. Part of the later use of a rich picture might include looking for patterns. Words inhibit your ability to spot patterns.

If you do use speech bubbles, use what people say, not your interpretation, unless the bubble is about some general attitude. Examples might be â€˜Aaagh!â€™, â€˜Help!â€™, â€˜Oops!â€™ â€“ the sort of th
Author(s): The Open University

7.2 Complexity and rich pictures

This section is mostly concerned with thinking about your rich picture and the complex situation it depicts.

There are lots of ways of drawing a good rich picture and very few ways of drawing bad rich pictures. So my next strategy in supporting your learning, and your experience of this complex situation, is to propose a number of checks you might use to ensure you have not fallen into the trap of the less-effective rich picture.

Although my discussion will focus on rich pictures,
Author(s): The Open University

Part 2: 1 Introduction

I have a number of purposes in mind as I write Part 2. You can read these in conjunction with Figure 4.

Author(s): The Open University

2.3 Taking responsibility for your own learning

Not much of this unit conforms to the traditional pattern I mentioned earlier â€“ the theory-example-exercise pattern. In particular, you will find you are expected to discover much of it for yourself. Why is this? This is a legitimate question and deserves a full answer. One year, a student at a residential summer school complained I had not taught him properly. I was, he told me, an expert and so why did I not demonstrate how to tackle the problem he was working on and pass my expertise on
Author(s): The Open University

3.2 Learning by experience

It's a familiar idea but it implies two activities: learning and experiencing. Both activities need to happen if I am to say that learning from experience has happened. Experiencing seems to have two components. The first is the quality of attention that allows me to notice the experience and its components. The second is memory. Calling experience to mind allows me to examine the experience and to think about it in ways that were not possible at the time. Learning is what I take away from th
Author(s): The Open University

1 Overview of the unit

Figure 1 An activity-sequence diagram showing the structure
Author(s): The Open University

At the end of this free course you should be able to:

• reflect on your purposes and expectations in doing this unit;

• record in your Learning Journal your initial and developing understandings of what the course is about;

• use your Learning Journal as an on-going record of your developing understandings, expectations and experiences;

• begin taking responsibility for your
Author(s): The Open University

Basalla, G. (1988) The Evolution of Technology, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Baylis, T. (2000) Clock This: My Life as an Inventor, London, Headline.
Bell, D. (1988) â€˜The third technological revolution and its possible socio-economic consequencesâ€™ (third annual faculty lecture), Salford, University of Salford.
Author(s): The Open University

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You can experience this free course as it was originally designed on OpenLearn, the home of free learning from The Open University: Author(s): The Open University

You can experience this free course as it was originally designed on OpenLearn, the home of free learning from The Open University: Author(s): The Open University

You can experience this free course as it was originally designed on OpenLearn, the home of free learning from The Open University: Author(s): The Open University

In general, innovations that are perceived as having relative advantages, being more compatible, less complex, observable, and trialable will diffuse more rapidly than other innovations.

Author(s): The Open University

Combination is where two or more existing devices are combined to produce something new. For example the Toggle (Figure 45) combines a screwdriver and wire stripper for the outer and inner cores of an electric cable. It was designed by an OU student of an earlier version of the
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