ICT 501: System Dynamics

The increasing complexity of human-activity (socio-technical) systems that surround us today calls for a new approach to problem view and intervention. Systems dynamics represents a new paradigm (holistic rather than linear) to understanding complex problem situations providing a set of graphical modeling tools for discerning the underlying structures of such systems. It adopts a methodology based on computer simulation for building management flight simulators that permit to experiment with various policy choices to find leverage points or changes that effect the desired outcomes or design new policies through restructuring. The course is designed to develop skills in the creation and use of computer simulation models for policy analysis and formulation of business strategy. A principal focus of the course is the significance of information feedback and circular causality in the behavior of socio-technical systems.

Course Description

  •     Complexity & the Problem  Continuum
  •     The Scientific Method & its limitations
  •     Systems Theories, Principles, Methods & Concepts
  •     The Systems Dynamics Paradigm, Language & Methodology
  •     Systems Dynamics Thinking Skills
  •     Systems Dynamics Modeling Tools
  •     Computer Simulation methodology for understanding dynamic complexity, policy redesign & strategy
  •     Systems archetypes
  •     Case studies

Learning Outcome

Upon successful completion of this course student will be able to:

  •     Define key systems terminology and exemplify these in different problem situations
  •     Gain an appreciation of complexity as an inherent part of most organizational problem situations and apply the 7 systems thinking skills to discern the structure and anticipate the dynamic patterns of behavior for complex problem situations.
  •     Formulate feedback hypotheses underlying complex problem situations
  •     Translate feedback hypotheses into causal loop and then stock and flow models.
  •     Derive simulation equations from SFDs and experiment with these models in order to establish their fidelity.
  •     Design experiments with a stock and flow models, implement them, and interpret their results, in order to arrive at effective solutions that address the defined problems of a system dynamics project.
  •     Communicate effectively the results of a system dynamics analysis in speech, writing and especially in graphical interpretation of behavior patterns.
  •     appreciate the endogenous causes of societal problems  and the inter-connectedness between technology, society, and the environment.
  •     Develop, organize, manage, and successfully conduct a significant system dynamics project working individually or as part of a group.
  •     Gain mastery of the common system traps or archetypes, their leverage and be able to recognize them in problem situations.


American University of Nigeria
98 Lamido Zubairu Way
Yola Township bypass
PMB 2250, Yola
Adamawa State, Nigeria

Tel: +234 805 200 2962



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