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A better world through a systems approach

The materials presented here are the professional opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of INCOSE. Use of these presentations are limited by the author’s copyright. Contact information for the authors is usually found in the presentation or video.

INCOSE/GfSE Webinar 9: How to learn Systems Engineering

Click to download GfSE - GfSE INCOSE Webinar 9 Invitation!

Meeting Title: How to learn Systems Engineering
Presenter Name: Michael Gainford & René King
Date: Wednesday, 6 July 2022
Time EDT: 11:00 am- 12:00 pm EST (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm UTC; 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm CET) 


Many individuals and organizations seek to grow their Systems Engineering (SE) skills and capabilities in order to tap into the well-substantiated benefits of SE - see for example Elm and Goldenson (2012). During this webinar Michael Gainford and René King will explore how people can best learn Systems Engineering (or indeed any other topic).

They will lay out a number of adult learning principles, illustrating them with examples as they go. Some of the principles are:

  • Learners need to have a sense of progress towards their objectives;
  • Learners need to participate actively;
  • Learning should be related to the learner’s experience and knowledge;
  • Getting ideas wrong can be a valuable aid to developing understanding;
  • Time must be allowed for reflection.

It is important that both the “learner” and the “learning facilitator” understand the principles, especially as people’s learning preferences vary. There are many contexts in which learning takes place, so the facilitator might for example be described as a teacher/lecturer, coach, mentor, or colleague.

In an effective learning environment, there is a bi-directional relationship between facilitator and learner; each influences the other, and in fact both become learners. If there are multiple learners, they take additional benefit from influencing each other. It is a very important principle that the learner takes responsibility for learning (rather than seeing it as a service provided by the facilitator), which is why it is important that learners learn about learning.

They will refer to parts of Bloom’s taxonomy to describe the progression that may occur during a “learning event”. At the end of the event, can the learner remember, understand, explain, or apply the new knowledge? Beyond that, do things stagnate, or is there further growth through continuing professional development and structures such as the INCOSE Competency Framework? They will also relate this to John Maxwell’s coaching model: “I do it; I do it with you; you do it with me; you do it; you do it with someone else”. Most organizations can’t afford to send everyone to a learning event, so those that participate must feel a responsibility for compounding the benefit going forwards.  

Take-Away Key Message
  • If you have ever struggled with “learning seen as a service provided by a trainer”, this webinar will help you to understand learning as “an on-going process involving learners and learning facilitators”.
  • Asking yourself how to get the most benefit from a learning experience, this webinar will help you to understand that you as a learner must take ownership of your learning outcomes and learn more about learning.
 Register in advance for this webinar at: