B.Ed. Teaching Notes
TYPES OF PROBLEM SOLVING AND PROBLEM SOLVING CYCLE
M.Sc., M.Ed., JRF & NET
Lecturer in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education
Anderson (1988) suggested that there a two different types of problem-solving procedures used.
When one uses weak-methods or weak procedures for solving a problem it is of the type Novice problem solving.
When one uses a combination of specific problem-solving methods and a series of compiled actions leading to solutions it is of the type Expert problem solving.
PROBLEM SOLVING CYCLE
We engage in problem solving when we need to overcome obstacle in order to answer a question or to achieve a goal. If we can quickly retrieve an answer from memory, we do not have a problem. If we cannot retrieve an immediate answer, then we have a problem to be solved.
The steps of the problem solving cycle includes
1) Problem identification,
2) Problem definition,
3) Strategy formulation,
4) Organization of information,
5) Allocation of resources,
1) Problem identification.
Identifying a situation as problematic is sometimes a difficult step. We may fail to recognize that we have a goal, that our path to a goal is obstructed, or that the solution we had in our mind does not work.
2) Problem definition and representation
Once we identify the existence of a problem, we still have to define and represent the problem well enough to understand how to solve it. The problem definition step is important because if we inaccurately define and represent the problem, we will not be able to solve it.
3) Strategy formulation
The next step is to plan a strategy for solving it. The strategy may involve
Analysis – breaking down the whole of a complex problem into manageable elements, and
Synthesis – putting together various elements to arrange them into something useful.
4) Organization of information.
Once a strategy has been formulated, we are ready to organize the available information in a way that enables us to implement the strategy.
At this step, we organize the information strategically, finding a representation that best enables us to implement the strategy.
5) Resource allocation
In addition to our other problems, most of us face the problem of having limited resources, including time, money, equipment, space and so on. Some problems require a lot of time and resources, whereas other problems require only few resources. Moreover, we need to know when to allocate which resources.
Checking up on ourselves all along the way, to make sure that we are getting closer to our goal is called monitoring. If we are not in the right direction we have to change it.
We have to evaluate our solution after we have finished. Through evaluation, new problems may come to light, and new resources may become available or existing ones may be used more efficiently.
Hence, the cycle is completed when it leads to new insights and begin anew.