Chevron Left
Back to Model Thinking

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Model Thinking by University of Michigan

2,161 ratings

About the Course

We live in a complex world with diverse people, firms, and governments whose behaviors aggregate to produce novel, unexpected phenomena. We see political uprisings, market crashes, and a never ending array of social trends. How do we make sense of it? Models. Evidence shows that people who think with models consistently outperform those who don't. And, moreover people who think with lots of models outperform people who use only one. Why do models make us better thinkers? Models help us to better organize information - to make sense of that fire hose or hairball of data (choose your metaphor) available on the Internet. Models improve our abilities to make accurate forecasts. They help us make better decisions and adopt more effective strategies. They even can improve our ability to design institutions and procedures. In this class, I present a starter kit of models: I start with models of tipping points. I move on to cover models explain the wisdom of crowds, models that show why some countries are rich and some are poor, and models that help unpack the strategic decisions of firm and politicians. The models covered in this class provide a foundation for future social science classes, whether they be in economics, political science, business, or sociology. Mastering this material will give you a huge leg up in advanced courses. They also help you in life. Here's how the course will work. For each model, I present a short, easily digestible overview lecture. Then, I'll dig deeper. I'll go into the technical details of the model. Those technical lectures won't require calculus but be prepared for some algebra. For all the lectures, I'll offer some questions and we'll have quizzes and even a final exam. If you decide to do the deep dive, and take all the quizzes and the exam, you'll receive a Course Certificate. If you just decide to follow along for the introductory lectures to gain some exposure that's fine too. It's all free. And it's all here to help make you a better thinker!...

Top reviews


Nov 23, 2020

very informative and insightful on how to use the various models at our disposal to take optimal decision. Also, was nostalgic to go back in time where these models were part of my university degree.


Apr 6, 2018

The course presents a multitude of models that enable us to analyze human and systems behavior and interactions. By making implicit assumptions explicit we can understand real world processes better.

Filter by:

26 - 50 of 485 Reviews for Model Thinking

By Yechen H

Oct 13, 2020

As a person who has a fair amount of Computer Science Education especially in the Artificial Intelligence area, I DO NOT recommend this course to someone with a similar background as I do. This course introduces several common models which a typical engineering/science student will encounter in her/his first two years of college study. The professor basically touches every model without much deep insights into how they might be practically applied to everyday choices/decisions. If you really want to Learn some Models, I would recommend the "Machine Learning" course here by Andrew Ng!

By Ravi C

Nov 25, 2015

too much theory and not nearly enough practical models that I can use in my life or work. Disappointed so much of the class was spent on describing many different models instead of focusing on ones that can be applied readily.

By Frank P

Dec 5, 2016

I loved this course.

I followed this course to prepare myself for teaching a similar course at the HZ University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

This MOOC suits me perfectly to flip the classroom. Students study the videos offered by professor Page before they come to class. In class, I organize workshops that take about three hours during which the models are discussed and applied in groups of up to four students. Having a big classroom available with whiteboards all around the walls is a big plus. Standing really makes people's mind moving.

At the end of each workshop, students have to do an assignment that closely relates to the topics that arose during the workshop. Together, all these assignments make up the portfolio wherein students keep track of their learning process and reflect on their learning experience.

I wish everybody a happy thoughtful day,

Frank Peeters

Senior Lecturer at the HZ University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands

By Sunil

Jul 18, 2019

This is an outstanding course on the many model approach to problem solving. I got way more than I expected from the course - I did not expect to see coverage of agent based modeling, linear models, tipping points, and game theory in one course. I also got less than I wanted as we went along. Each class was a short trailer on the models and many a times I wanted to know more. I at least know what to explore, which is not a bad outcome for a course you can complete quite quickly. Professor Page's enthusiasm for the models and the need to cycle information through multiple models is infectious, informative and ultimately very inspiring.

By Joerg P

Jun 29, 2019

The course touches on a wide variety of topics, while keeping a clear focus. The presentations are fun to watch and Prof. Scott presents with enthusiasm and presents interesting examples where the models apply in day to day life. The syllabus adds some interesting leads for those who want to dig a bit deeper in that matter. I'm happy to have learnt some new models, deeper understood some models I used to know and eager to see how to apply this in the future. Mental note: Be open to switch chairs, but be careful to switch rooms ;-)

By KShah

Aug 17, 2020

One of the best classes for a "thinking" person to understand complexity in human society. How does complexity arise from "simple" interactions among people, culture, nations? The instructor (Scott E Page) is a gifted with magical ability to explain complex ideas through "simple" examples, yet preserve the "complexity" of problems. Quizzes and exams are also well thought out. Thank you to all (Professor, teaching staff, forum contributors and moderators) for putting together the amazing experience of "Model Thinking"!

By Stefano G

Feb 8, 2017

This excellent course provides a broad overview of the main models for decision support. Arguments are too vast to be treated in a single course, each of them would deserve at least one special course. But what is important is the knowledge of these opportunities. The course provides the basic tools in several areas, leaving the opportunity to deepen to the interest of each participant. A special praise to the teacher, proficient in triggering the audience's interest and attention, with a good dose of sympathy and irony.

By Tom B

Jan 13, 2016

Barely in and it's one of the very best most fun courses I've taken. Scott is hugely enthusiastic and articulate in just the right ways. I hope I'm learning as much as I'm having fun letting model patterns float through my brain. I guess that is learning, sorta. I'm excited to complete the course and build on it. A very good sign. Thank you all so much for putting these courses out there. It's fucking fantastic. Okay, it doesn't really get more emphatic than that from me. Thank you again. Tom Bauer.

By Annabelle W

Feb 4, 2021

This is, hands down, the best course I've ever taken - in-person or online! It is incredibly stimulating, engaging, well-presented and it will challenge you. Not only will it challenge you, but it will change how you view the world, and will give you a profound excitement for things you've never considered before. Anybody and everybody will benefit from this, whatever your career or personal life - this is a course that ascends academia into real-world living. Thank you!

By jim.carfrae

May 5, 2021

Open new doors to you view on the world and be a better person for it.

Model Thinking is an amazing introductory course. You will be exposed to many new ideas that are taught in simple and understandable lectures. Scott Page is a great lector and a passionate evangelist for Model Thinking. He rightly shows the many ways these many models can be applied to multiple situations.

It is not imaginable that you will not improve in multiple areas because of this course.

By Juris S

Jun 28, 2021

Greetings from Latvia, Riga!

For all who are thinking to start the course. I have just completed a very good course and if you want to expand your horizons and become a better thinker. Take it, the course will help you to make clearer decisions.

I will continue to learn some course topics individually.

Thanks to Coursera who provide an excellent course from the University of Michigan and specially thanks to the professor.

Best regards,

Juris Scheps

By Balint P

Jan 31, 2017

Very useful and engaging course in general! There were a lot of interesting parts in it. Especially, because it showed that the "many model thinking" is a useful "tool" in various fields of life. There were some trivial parts/ lectures, but it was still useful to go back to some basics for deeper understanding. Scott Page was also a great lecturer and I liked the whole structure of the course. Thanks for the great course, keep up the good work!

By Deleted A

Mar 25, 2016

An enlightening course. Opens my mind to a wide vista of new ways of thinking and living. Practical with seemingly endless tools for the mind. Prof. Page provides a wide variety of examples that are relatable.

The best thing for me is how Prof. Page feels relatable and approachable in his teaching style - he seems to really want students to understand what he's teaching and meeting us where we are, providing excellent scaffolding along the way.

By Mawabo M

Dec 23, 2015

I have a Masters degree and until I took this MOOC I had somehow gotten used to the ridiculous notion that I had learned everything that I needed to know. I am pleasantly amazed at how much I still don't know and I am very excited to learn more. I have even started reading journal articles by Page and Zellner because I am very facinated by the models shown to me in this course.

Thank you very much for making this material available.

By Diogo A

Oct 6, 2020

This course is a true delight. You will not learn advanced mathematics of programming skills: for that, there's plenty available. More critically, this course will give you the motivation to face that sometimes daunting math with a smile on your face. It will also give you critical skills to think about topics such as elections, forest fires, randomness and strategy. I cannot recommend this enough. Also, the professor is amazing.

By Heather W

Jan 21, 2018

This class is just absolutely fantastic. I learned a ton and ended up getting a few of Scott Page's books, which go into even more detail (but still not at a level where someone like me, with a minimal math background, couldn't get it). Thank you for making this course. I'm a PhD student in Philosophy and this class (and Page's books) helped me work on an epistemology paper I would have been unable to do otherwise. Thank you!

By Кучумов В А

Jun 27, 2017

It is hard to imagine that a huge amount of information, which Scott collected, structured and offered as a finished course. I have learned a lot new data about natural phenomena, the behavior of the group of people and individuals in different social and economic conditions. I think that course is very useful to any person who want to expand his horizons and become truly "an intelligent citizen in the world". Thanks a lot.

By Adail M R

May 10, 2021

This was a very insightful and fun course! Using models to enhance our thinking and applying it to our daily life is a big lever for higher levels of performance and satisfaction! Professor Page does a great job at explaining this essential topic, with lots of examples and his engaging style! I took it twice, with some years in between, and I learned a lot every time! Highly recommended to anyone who thinks!

By Vijay S S

Jun 4, 2020

One the finest course I had ever opted for. Professor Scott E Page is a true genius. The learning community needs more such courses especially from the legend himself to make a better sense of the things happening around us. It is highly recommended to purchase the books written by Professor Scott E Page for that every book worth its weight in gold. With profound regards to Professor Scott E Page. Cheers.

By Eric W

Jan 18, 2017

This course blew my mind week after week. Professor Page's excitement for the topic combined with an amazing ability to communicate clearly and concisely made this an awesome 12 week journey. The double edge of the course is that after 11 weeks my brain is carrying so many new models, it can be hard to keep them straight ... that's what practice and refreshing is for. Awesome class!

By Phil M

Aug 16, 2019

Models are the stuff of knowledge: we propose simplified versions of how the world works and consider how well they match reality. Scott answers the philosophical question "What are models for?" and gives an introduction to several engaging models. Anyone who wants to become a lifelong learner will do well to develop the skill of designing, refining, and applying their own models.

By Zakhar K

Jan 1, 2020

A great intro to mental models - interesting, provocative and thought-inducing. Scott lays off the foundation by breaking complex processes into simple equations and deriving the formulas (the formulas that really work!). This course will definitely help one start looking at our world in models - getting a clearer understanding of what's happening around us.

Thanks, Mr. Page! <3

By Marta K

Jun 6, 2017

An eye opening walk through different models that govern our lives, both personal, political, social, economic and... [insert any industry, academic discipline]. It'll help you become a more rational person, pay attention to fallacies and patterns that appear around us. Might also turn you into a selfish bot evaluating everything rationally, unless that's just me ;-)

By uday r

Nov 13, 2016

This was a very well structured course. Prof. Scott has delivered wach lecture with great clarity. As introduction course, it had a very good range of topics and models to learn from. The content is intuitive enough to apreciate the "fertility" of these models and apply them in various contexts.

Many thanks,

Looking forward to more such courses on modeling,

Udaya Ranga

By Yi D

Jan 28, 2017

Great course for quantitative social science, focusing on modeling. I recommend anyone who are interested in social science to take it to know something beyond the traditional reasoning method. I really think quantitative is the future of social science though it is not mature enough. Anyway, this course gives a great introduction, and the content is plenty.