Introduction to Networked Improvement Basics℠

Spring 2024 Course Dates: May 6 – June 28, 2024 (8 weeks)

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Introduction to Networked Improvement BasicsTM is an eight-week online course that prepares educators, leaders, and support providers to use improvement science tools and methodologies to tackle persistent educational problems and advance equitable outcomes and systems. Improvement science brings discipline and methods to problem solving while activating the agency of all stakeholders to work together, guided by inquiry and evidence, to improve outcomes reliably and at scale. Through testing innovations, refining, and testing them again, improvers transform systems and make progress on challenges facing their communities.

In this course, participants will engage with adaptive learning modules, optional live sessions, and scenario-based assignments to develop a conceptual understanding of the principles and practices of improvement science and build their skills in applying improvement methods to real problems of practice. This self-paced course is ideal for individuals and teams wishing to build foundational knowledge in improvement science and develop mindsets that are supportive of an improvement approach to change.

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Course Outcomes

Participants in this course will be introduced to ways to:

  • Apply improvement methods to real problems
  • Attend to equity throughout the improvement process
  • Engage diverse stakeholders and to use a variety of tools when investigating a problem and the system causing it
  • Articulate a theory of practice improvement (represented by a driver diagram) and identify associated measures to support learning
  • Evaluate the role of evidence and social considerations when spreading and scaling changes
  • Test changes using the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle (based on a case-based scenario)
  • Recognize the distinct characteristics of a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) and how this collective approach can be used to address complex problems

Course Details


This eight-week course consists of six competency-based units that can be completed on your schedule. Each unit includes adaptive learning modules with video lectures, readings, knowledge checks, and interactive elements, as well as a performance task that supports reflection and applying learning in your context.

The course also includes three optional, live sessions. Through small group activities and discussions, these sessions are designed to help participants delve deeper into the content with the course community and consider how to begin applying improvement methods in their contexts. Live sessions will also include time for instructors to address questions and are organized around specific topics addressed in the course. The live sessions are focused on the following topics: 

  • Digging Deeper with Casual System Analysis & Fishbone Diagrams 
  • Moving from Investigation to Action 
  • Learning through Disciplined Inquiry

Time Required

Learners can progress through the course content and activities at their own pace and should expect to spend approximately three to four hours on each of the competency-based units. Participants are also invited to attend the optional, 90-minute live sessions (3) offered by Carnegie faculty.

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“This course was my introduction into improvement science. It provided me great insight and [user-centered] tools in approaching problem solving.” –Course Participant