22 October 2009

Problem Solving

Definition: Problem solving is cognitive processing directed at achieving a goal when no solution method is obvious to the problem solver. (Meyer, 1992)

Proposition #1: Problem solving abilities do not transfer between disciplines. (Maloney, 1993)

Proposition #2: A student's strengths and weaknesses in problem solving are the same regardless of the environment. As an example, a student's strengths and weaknesses in solving a complicated trip planning problem are the same in solving a physics problem or performing in a work place. (Adams and Wieman, 2007)

Implications: if #1 is true, the argument that math and logic help students in Computer Science is no longer valid?

If #2 is true, all Computer Science students should play a lot more video games?


Adams, W. and Wieman, C. (2007). Problem Solving Skill Evaluation Instrument - Validation Studies. Retrieved on October 22, 2009 from here.

Maloney, D.P. (1993). Research on Problem Solving: Physics, in Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and Learning edited by D.L. Gabel. Toronto: Macmillan. pp 327 - 354.

Meyer, R.E. (1992). Thinking, problem solving, cognition (2nd ed). New York: Freeman.

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