Presentation on theme: "Problem solving skills"— Presentation transcript:
1 Problem solving skills Is it possible to teach problem solving skills?
2 ‘Problem solving is a cognitive processing directed at achieving a goal where no solution method is obvious tothe problem solver’
3 What Skills are Used in Problem Solving?Making judgementsAnalytical skillsDecision makingCollecting informationPlanning
4 Survey of Key Skills: Problem-solving During the past two years, have you been involved inany activity, whether inside or outside school/college,in which you critically reviewed an idea, concept ortheoryin which you questioned or cross-examined someone toextract some information?in which you identified the information needed to solvea problem?
5 What are your issues with the teaching of Problem-Solving?
6 How do you solve problems? What processes do you use?Can you explain them to another person?Do these processes vary depending upon theproblem?Use of Cognitive Interviewing…...
7 Problem solving skills - what do we know about people who are good at it? What is an expert?Someone who knows the domain thoroughly - solving problems comes naturally?Someone who can think of things to do even when no clear solutions suggests itself?
8 Expert problem solvers Have a better memory for relevant details in the problemClassify problems according to their underlying principlesUse well-established proceduresWork forwards towards a goal (rather than backwards)
9 Model of Learning Content Understanding Collaboration Problem-solving CommunicationSelf-regulation
10 Requirements for Problem-Solving Domain-dependentproblem-solvingstrategiesContentUnderstandingSelf-regulationMetacognitionMotivationSelf-efficacyPlanningEffortSelf-monitoring
11 Understanding the Process: ‘How to Solve it’Engage: I want to and I canRead the problem (and all the information)Listen to the tutorLearn about the situation that poses the problemMotivationOvercome panic
12 Understanding the Process: ‘How to Solve it’Understand the problem: definePut time in to defining the problem:Discuss the problemAsk questionsCan it be visualised?Restate the problem in your own wordsExplain the problem to someone else
13 Understanding the Process: ‘How to Solve it’Plan a procedure to solve the problemPrior experience?Data availableContent knowledgePatternsEstimationAlternate solutionsFeasibility
14 Understanding the Process: ‘How to Solve it’Collection of required data & knowledgeMay be necessary to reach a solution on imperfectknowledge
15 Understanding the Process: ‘How to Solve it’Select preferred solution: use and evaluateCheck each stepCan you determine clearly that each step is correct?Can you prove that each step is correct?
16 Understanding the Process: ‘How to Solve it’Reflect on the processAre you certain you solved the problem?Can you check the result and your argument?Can use alternate solutions?What did you actually do? Can you explain this toanother?Can you use the result &/or method for anotherproblem?
17 Defining the problem Collect all the relevant information Clarify background issuesWhat are the constraints?Are there sub-problems that can be dealt with separately?Can the problem now be formulated?
18 BrainstormingBrainstorm to produce a wide range of possible solutions to the problemRecord uncritically/no comments at this stageUse a group of peopleDivergent thinking
19 Information requiredIn biosciences we can do experiments which are carefully designed, implemented and controlledThere is a vast amount of information in the literatureCollate the data accumulated - are there trends and relationships that help?
20 Bringing back the dataCollection of the data needs to be followed by presentation to the groupPerson doing this will need to digest the informationPerson doing this will need some presentation skillsCritical thinking skills required
21 Do we have a preferred solution? What criteria can be devised?Evaluate each possible solution in the light of these criteriaReject solutions that do not meet these criteriaJudgements - strengths and weaknessesNow have one or two solutions that meet the criteria?
22 ReflectionHow efficient was the process, how could it be made more efficient next time?Were the problems in definitions, finding information, understanding information?How are critical faculties increasing?Did the group work effectively?What would you change next time?
23 Which of these skills can be taught? Finding information - vocabulary, library/web skillsReading the literature - format and conventions used in papersPresenting information - how to organise data, prepare graphs and tables, talk to a group, make a posterPractice at all of these will increase critical skills
24 Developing problem-solving skills Make tacit processes explicitGet students to talk about the problemProvide guided practiceEnsure that the component procedures are learned
25 Problem solving skills Basic knowledge of facts and ways of doing thingsMetacognition - how one uses what one knowsHeuristics - strategies and techniques (find an easier, related problem)Beliefs - this problem can be solved (positive attitude)
26 Understanding the problem Discuss it, ask questionsDraw a pictureRestate in your own words/tell someone else about itRestate the information givenRestate the question
27 Cunning plan Have we ever done one like this before? Do we have of the data needed?Is there a pattern in the data?Construct a table or a picture?What is the answer likely to be?Would an experiment help?
28 Reflection Describe how we did it Which techniques were most useful? Can you explain how you did it to someone else?Is there another way of doing it?Does the solution raise any interesting problems?
29 Primary Issues for Students Have confidence in your skillBe able to describe/visualise the problem in yourown termsBe able to describe your thought processesBe able to identify issues, set goals anddefine problemsBe organised and systematic, with frequentmonitoringBe creative and don’t be afraid to try differentavenuesIdentify criteria and use these criteria to prioritiseAccess and use knowledge astutely
30 Strategies and Good Practice in Developing Problem-solving Skills Embedded or separate?Total embeddingExplicit embeddingParallel development of skills
31 Strategies and Good Practice in Developing Problem-solving Skills Group or individual?Problem-solving skills will be discovered and recognisedwith the group, and drawn uponWhen there is a time limit, individuals will be faster!Groups provide opportunity for greater innovation-BRAINSTORMINGThe larger the group, the more ideas availableThe larger the group, the less the involvementIndividuals more likely to show vulnerability and doubt
32 Problem-solving Skills: AssessmentProblem recognition tasksExamples of common problems are presented. Studentsare asked to identify the basic type of problem representedRecognition of problem type is the first step to solving theproblemAppropriate in quantitative and technical courses, but couldalso be used to evaluate global problem-solving skills
33 Problem-solving Skills: AssessmentWhat’s the Principle?Once a type of problem is correctly identified, studentsmust identify which of the principles involved in the classmust be applied to solve the problemAssists in the understanding that general types of problemscan be solved with the individual principles involved in classAppropriate for traditional science and technology coursesand humanities and social sciences subjects
34 Problem-solving Skills: AssessmentDocumented Problem SolutionsAsks students to keep track of the steps involved insolving particular types of problemsLets faculty understand how students approach problemsas well as understand how they comprehend and describeproblem-solving proceduresUseful in subjects that involve mathematical or numericalprocessing and analysis
35 Problem-solving Skills: AssessmentBackground Knowledge ProbeQuestionnaires that examine students’ knowledge ofthe subject as they enter a moduleUseful as a stand-alone method to determine the mostappropriate level to begin instructionContent-driven. Can be used to indicate significantmaterial
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