Introduction: Problem Solving in High-Stakes Learning Environments
The authors of this book have a background in research in the educational sciences and instructional design. As part of our work as educational specialists, we have increasingly been asked to provide advice and contribute to the instructional design aspects of research in the high-stakes domains covered in this book: security (Chap. 4), emergency medicine (Chap. 5), aviation (Chap. 6), mental health (Chap. 7) and engineering (Chap. 8). Our exposure to these domains has led to a growing appreciation, among ourselves, of the immense utility value that theories of instruction, some of which have been borne out of research in school settings, can have in informing how specialists in these domains are trained to solve problems. Although problem solving is part of our everyday lives, there are problem-solving contexts which can be considered high stakes. From our perspective, high-stakes domains are those in which the decisions made by individuals or groups have significant consequences for the preservation of human lives, as well as broader social, legal, ethical, economic and environmental consequences. If we take the domains of interest in this book, we can see that the preservation of human life lies at the core of what individuals in these domains are meant to fulfil. The central goal of security personnel is to protect human lives (Chap. 4). The emergency medical practitioner seeks to save lives (Chap. 5). Pilots have a duty of care to operate aircraft in a way that does not endanger the lives of their passengers (Chap. 6). During a behavioural emergency, the underlying aim of a mental clinician is to prevent the client from harming self or others (Chap. 7). Engineers must adhere to ethical and professional standards to ensure that their manipulations of technologies do not compromise human lives (Chap. 8).
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