STRUCTURED PROBLEMSOLVING

Instructor Preparation Time 
Medium 
Student Response Time 
Medium 
Instructor Analysis Time 
Medium 
Large Classroom Considerations 
Movable tables and chairs 
Complexity of Activity 
Medium 
DESCRIPTION
Structured ProblemSolving gives students a process for solving a complex, contentbased problem within a specific time limit. All students must agree to a solution and be able to explain the answer and strategy used to solve the problem. The activity will help identify where students need to develop and/or improve their problemsolving skills.
USE WHEN YOU WANT…
 To break a problemsolving process into specific steps,
 To have students identify, analyze, and solve problems in an organized manner,
 To give students a structured format — preventing them from being overwhelmed by the magnitude of a problem, or from engaging in irrelevant steps by providing manageable steps.
PRECLASS 
□ 
Create a problem that is complex enough to require students to use sophisticated problemsolving skills. Use research and current questions in the field as a resource. 
□ 
Choose an identification and solving procedure that is appropriate to the type of problem selected. 
□ 
Solve the problem yourself using the identified problemsolving procedure to uncover any difficulties or errors. 
□ 
Create a handout that includes both the problem and the problemsolving steps. 
INCLASS 
□ 
Organize students into teams and assign them a complex problem to solve. 
□ 
Ask students to use the specific steps you have identified as a problemsolving technique: (a) identify the problem; (b) generate possible solutions; (c) evaluate and test the various solutions; (d) decide on a mutually acceptable solution; (e) implement plan, and (f) evaluate the results. 
□ 
Teams report the steps they took and the solution they developed. 
POSTCLASS 
□ 
Review reports. 
□ 
Provide feedback/grades to group participants. 
□ 
Discuss the results of the activity at the next class meeting. 
CITATION/SOURCE
Barkley, Elizabeth F. et al. Collaborative Learning Techniques A Handbook For College Faculty. Wiley, 2014. pp. 244248.