Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics > Teaching Methods > Documented Problem Solving

Documented Problem Solving

This material was originally developed within the Pedagogy in Action Portal

Developed by Linda Wilson, The University of Texas at Arlington, with help from Amber Casolari, Riverside City College; Katie Townsend-Merino, Palomar College; and Todd Easton, University of Portland


What is Documented Problem Solving (or Solution)?

hand with pencil

Documented problem solving is an active learning assessment technique that "... prompts students to keep track of the steps they take in solving a problem ..." and then to write down or document the steps they follow (Angelo & Cross, 1993: p. 222). This approach:

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Why Teach with Documented Problem Solving?

Documented problem solving is a teaching and learning technique that generates metacognition.awareness of one's own learning process This causes students to shift their focus from merely getting the correct answer to the thought process or steps they use in order to find the answer. As students' think about their learning and their problem-solving awareness increases, they begin to transition from the "steps used to solve a problem" to the application of analytical and critical thinking skills. Documented problem solving also helps to identify missteps in students' thinking, and thus provides valuable feedback for students and instructors. The feedback is more informative than what can be gleaned from typical multiple choice, true/false, or short answer questions. The approach is easy to implement in a number of academic disciplines.

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How to Teach with Documented Problem Solving

Documented problem solving is a very flexible teaching and learning strategy that can be tailored to fit a particular course or specific course content. It works especially well with topics that require analysis, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Instructors can easily transform assignments they currently use to work with this approach. It can be structured so that it requires minimal effort on the part of the instructor even in large classes. In order for students to benefit from the technique, an instructor must explain the value of the approach to students, model the approach for students, and provide feedback to students about their solution process.

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Examples of Teaching with Documented Problem Solving

Within this module are:

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References

The references page includes sources specifically related to documented problem solving plus sources focused on student learning in general.

References related to Documented Problem Solving



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