Decision Analysis: Tools - Online


Target Audience:

Conservation professionals or students who want to improve their quantitative skills in decision analysis.

Summary and Objectives:

This course is intended for structured decision-making practitioners who want to develop their analytical skills by gaining a greater practical understanding of the most common quantitative methods. It builds on the fundamental principles taught in "Introduction to Structured Decision Making" (ALC3171), focuses on how to support the "Consequences" and "Tradeoff" steps of the "PrOACT" process, and is a companion advanced course to "Decision Analysis: Elicitation & Facilitation" (ALC3190). Course content includes; fundamentals of classical decision analysis and classes of decision problems; decision trees, utility theory, and risk; multi-criteria decision analysis, including eliciting weights and dealing with conditional dependence; value of information; and analysis of portfolio problems. The course has a substantial hands-on component-every concept is accompanied with guided exercises. Background readings will be required in preparation for the course. This course and the entire NCTC SDM curriculum were developed in partnership with USGS.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to: 

  • Identify several common classes of decision problem.
  • Analyze decision tress.
  • Elicit and apply utility functions to reflect decision-makers' risk tolerance.
  • Implement multicriteria decision analyses, using the SMART method * Elicit weights on objectives using a variety of alternative methods, including consideration of global vs. local scales for weights.
  • Help a group of experts identify and articulate critical uncertainty.
  • Calculate the expected value of information.
  • Analyze portfolio problems.


Completion of ALC3171 Introduction to Structured Decision Making or its equivalent is required. To request a waiver please contact We'll use Excel extensively, although some participants may wish to use a programming environment of their choosing (R, MATLAB, etc.) for the exercises.

Competency Addressed: 

Decision Making - Intermediate, Decision Support - Intermediate, Arithmetic/Mathematical Reasoning - Intermediate, Modeling and Simulation - Intermediate, Risk Management - Basic

Course Short Name
Course Type
Course Category
Training Tuition Cost
30.0 hours
Training Credit Hours
Semester Hours

Questions and Registration


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