By: MIT xPRO on July 28th, 2022
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Ditch the Prerequisites! 6 Online MIT xPRO Courses You Can Take without Previous Experience

Online Education | Professional Development | Leadership

Thinking about continuing your education with an online business management course but worried that you don’t have the right background? 

If you’re ready to dive into a business-related course that could help you change careers, get a promotion, or become more effective at work, you don’t necessarily need to spend time taking an introductory course or earning a master’s degree to achieve your goal. 

Hit the ground running with one of these five MIT xPRO online courses that don’t require any prerequisites. 

5 MIT xPRO Courses That Don’t Require Prerequisites 

1. "System Thinking"

This five-week online course will make you a better problem solver and improve the performance of your projects by teaching you to apply system thinking in technical environments. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Understand the foundation of system thinking and the concepts of emergence, function, and performance
  • Apply the system dynamic method to understand complex processes
  • Identify and describe the relationships among entities in systems applied to your own experience
  • Create models of systems based on networks and dynamics
  • Identify how system thinking is applied in technical environments such as logistics & transportation and computation
  • Practice concepts from the course through a project management simulation

The concept of “System Thinking” was coined by Professor Jay W. Forrester in 1956 at MIT's Sloan School of Management. Developed by MIT xPRO and MIT faculty from the School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management, MIT xPRO's online System Thinking course combines innovative pedagogy with MIT faculty expertise from the place where it all began.

Learn more about the online certificate course in System Thinking

2. "Understanding Organizational Strategy and Capabilities" 

This four-week online course for technical professionals provides the essential skills needed to solve problems, innovate, and drive change. You’ll learn how to:

  • Understand the relevance of organizational strategy and practice how to align your team, products, and efforts with it 
  • Develop new processes by utilizing the Four Principles of Dynamic Work Design
  • Prioritize products that create value for the end user
  • Identify the notion of capability and its impact on implementing change
  • Decompose your product systems into individual tasks, relationships, and entities to organize and conceptualize your work 
  • Design knowledge work effectively by utilizing visual management 

Learn more about the online certificate course in Understanding Organizational Strategy and Capabilities.

3. "Critical Thinking and Decision Making" 

This three-week online course for technical professionals explores what it means to think about thinking and empowers learners to solve problems at work and in everyday life. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Explore deductive thinking and meta-cognition to understand problems and how to solve them
  • View real-world applications to diagramming an argument in order to assess the strength of evidence and relate evidence to different social and technical factors
  • Analyze alternative solutions critically and be able to identify types of evidence for or against alternative solutions
  • Apply Bayes' Law to determine the probability of an event based on prior knowledge of conditions that might be related to the event
  • Examine information literacy and research techniques for forming conclusions
  • Practice group decision-making processes by utilizing the Pugh Matrix and the Evaluation Matrix

Learn more about the online certificate course in Critical Thinking and Decision Making

3. "Managing Complex Projects and Organizations for Success"

Join this 8-week online project management course if you want to  take your organization’s projects to the next level. In this course, you'll gain an extensive understanding of all phases of project organization while you learn to strategize by using information to your advantage. By enrolling, you can expect to learn how to:

  • Choose the right projects for positive impact by defining strategy and managing the project setup phase
  • Develop a practical, executable plan by scheduling and deconstructing a project into carefully analyzed work packages and tasks
  • Ensure a project is carried out according to planning strategy by building the right team, and keeping to schedule and budget.
  • Manage unexpected opportunities and risk by adapting a project, preparing a “plan B” and mitigation strategies, and allowing for margins in both time and resources
  • Leverage post-project assessment and organizational learning to adjust and reuse project management strategies in future projects.

Learn more about the online certificate course in Managing Complex Projects and Organizations for Success.

4. "Navigating and Leveraging Culture and Networks" 

This three-week online course for technical professionals provides the essential skills needed to solve problems, innovate, and drive change. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Identify ways to lead change efforts within an organization utilizing the three lenses of strategy, power, and culture
  • Identify four ways of effectively assessing power within an organization
  • Analyze networks using diagnostic techniques within the three lenses

Learn more about the online certificate course in Navigating and Leveraging Culture and Networks

5. "Negotiating and Applying Influence and Power"

This three-week online course for technical professionals provides the essential skills needed to solve problems, innovate, and drive change. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Understand key terms and strategies from negotiation and conflict resolution theory, theories of social influence (persuasion), and theories regarding the exercise of power within and between organizations
  • Identify tensions within coworking teams and understand how best to balance competing ideas and interests while finding common ground
  • Build awareness of multicultural interactions in the workplace, particularly in regard to different perspectives on negotiation
  • Construct a personal theory of practice regarding negotiation, social influence, and the exercise of power inside organizations and in multiparty situations
  • Demonstrate theory through multiple real-time role-play simulations followed by peer feedback
  • Develop the tools and the playbook needed to continue to learn from personal negotiation and organizational leadership efforts after completing the course

Learn more about the online certificate course in Negotiating and Applying Influence and Power.

Preparing to Enroll in an Online Learning Course

While prerequisites aren’t required to enroll in any of these courses, there are some considerations to keep in mind. 

Navigating and Leveraging Culture and Networks and Negotiating and Applying Influence and Power are true introductory courses that are open to anyone who is interested in attending them. 

If you plan to enroll in System Thinking, Understanding Organizational Strategy and Capabilities, or Critical Thinking and Decision Making, you’ll need to be able to read and write English at the undergraduate level to complete the assignments. Previous or current work experience is also helpful for these courses, as many of the assignments require learners to reflect on their work environment and processes. 

We encourage you to check out the course pages below to find more information about the week-by-week schedules, who should enroll, how you will learn, what learners are saying, and course instructors: 

Happy learning!