Using Data: Discovery, analysis, visualisation and decision-making

Recommend course:


This two-day course will provide an overview of the modern data landscape. You will build your capacity to use data to inform your decisions and to drive your organisation’s strategies, tactics and operations as well as gaining a better understanding of how to manage and interact with people who manage data directly.

Who should attend:

Those who are not data people by training or disposition, but who come into contact with data as part of their jobs and want to be better equipped to use it effectively.  This includes: public, private and non-governmental sector advisors, analysts, individual contributors, managers and leaders.

The course is not intended to make you an expert in any of the topics covered, but rather to give you enough familiarity to ask good questions when presented with data from others, to know when data might be helpful to you, and to know where to start in situations that can be improved through data. 

Learning objectives:

  • Identify situations in which data can help improve decision making, aid operations, or assess effectiveness.
  • Determine what type(s) of data will be most useful in particular situations.
  • Learn about different approaches for interrogating and manipulating data and what types of data and problems each is best suited to.
  • Find the most accurate and compelling way to visualise results of data analysis.
  • Develop the skills needed to assess the trustworthiness of conclusions drawn from data.

Course outline:    

Day 1 morning - Data discovery

  • The role of data in the modern organisation
  • Why judgment is necessary but not sufficient
  • Matching data to organisational needs, questions, and decisions

Day 1 afternoon - Data analysis (A gentle introduction)

  • Quantifying qualitative data
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Measuring associations and differences
  • Understanding what can be done with more advanced quantitative methods

Day 2 morning – Data visualisation and communication

  • What makes visualisations good or bad, and how to do more of the good things and less of the bad.
  • Matching visualisations to data, objectives and audiences.
  • How subtle edits can improve the impact of visualisations.

Day 2 afternoon – Data-driven decision-making

  • Improving communication between data people and decision-makers.
  • Increasing the chances of getting the information needed on the first try.
  • Evaluating the quality and generalisability of data provided by others.

Course format:

This course will include presentation material interspersed with a lot of examples and discussion among participants. The discussion, and many of the examples, will be tailored to participants to make the course as relevant to the types of data participants encounter in their own jobs as possible. 


Mary Ellen Gordon

Further details:
If you would like more information about this programme, please contact us on:
Ph: 64 4 463 6556 Email:

Customised workshops:
Victoria Professional and Executive Development are able to customise many of our workshops to meet specific individual or organisational requirements. Please contact us for further information.

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