TOC 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Problem-Based Learning

Engaging Students in Wrestling with Authentic Issues
and Challenges from the Community

Measuring Up to the Challenge

Module Seven - Learning by Doing
What can be done?

Stages of Problem-Solving

Define Problem
Gather Data & Explore Possibilities
Invent Options
Evaluate Options
Create a Plan

Once the problem is clearly defined, the team starts looking for possible solutions or worthy strategies.

This search should include a careful review of what has been done in the past in similar situations, but we would hope that our students would look past conventional wisdom and cut-and-paste solutions, inventing some new ways of solving the problem that build upon the best ideas of the past.

The skill of invention (synthesis) involves combining and rearranging the elements of something until a new version emerges that is superior to what existed previously.

Synthesis and invention can be taught. If a teacher expects a class to practice original thinking and synthesis, then the class needs a toolkit of invention tools and strategies such as those discussed in the following article:

"Building Good New Ideas" at Take a look, especially, at the Mindware tools described toward the middle of the article.

Make a list of the 2-3 best new synthesis strategies you find in this article.

Next module. Please do not proceed until asked to do so by the workshop leader.

© 2004-2007, J. McKenzie, all rights reserved. These pages may
not be used for professional development purposes without purchase of
a site licence. Contact for information.