The aim of the study of the populations in a stellar system is to understand and be able to describe the stellar content of a system in terms of physical parameters such as the age, star formation history, chemical enrichment history, initial mass function (IMF), environment, and dynamical history of the system. This is done given an understanding of stellar evolution and the ability to express the outcome in “observer parameters”, particularly a color-magnitude diagram (CMD), kinematics, and metallicity. From this perspective, the simplest systems are the galactic clusters and the globular clusters, where all the component stars are coeval and of the same metallicity. The current state of knowledge for these are discussed by others in this conference. We proceed to the next level of complexity (where metallicities are not necessarily all the same, and nor are the stars all coeval), and try to decompose their stellar content, particularly in terms of star formation rate and metallicity. In this regard the two classes of objects that come to mind are the dwarf spheroidals, and the dwarf irregulars. Both these classes of objects are more massive than the open clusters and globular clusters, and show evidence of complexities in their star formation histories, without being so convolved as to make such a study intractable. As we shall see, recent studies along these lines have presented some puzzling problems. Moreover, these are the smallest independent galaxies, and the study of star formation in these is likely to shed light on the history and formation of larger and more complex galaxies.