Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Problem Solving

  • David H. JonassenEmail author
  • Woei Hung
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_208

Synonyms

Definition

Problem solving is the process of constructing and applying mental representations of problems to finding solutions to those problems that are encountered in nearly every context.

Theoretical Background

Problem solving is the process of articulating solutions to problems. Problems have two critical attributes. First, a problem is an unknown in some context. That is, there is a situation in which there is something that is unknown (the difference between a goal state and a current state). Those situations vary from algorithmic math problems to vexing and complex social problems, such as violence in society (see  Problem Typology). Second, finding or solving for the unknown must have some social, cultural, or intellectual value. That is, someone believes that it is worth finding the unknown. If no one perceives an unknown or a need to determine an unknown, there is no perceived problem....

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information Science and Learning TechnologiesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.College of Education and Human DevelopmentUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA