Problem-solving is one the Hybrid Skills children possess from birth. What is a problem? The definition is quite simple. A problem exists when an individual becomes aware of a significant difference between what actually is – reality – and what is desired. A problem can be an issue or an obstacle or hurdle, which makes it difficult to achieve a desired goal, objective, or purpose. A problem can be a situation, condition, or issue that is yet unresolved. All that means is that the reason for solving a problem in the first place is to figure out the best decisions which, once taken, will resolve the issue in your favor. Using the language of artificial intelligence, its father Marvin Minsky stated that the algorithm designer wants the computer to make an intelligent decision to move from a given state to a desired state. In other words, solve a problem by identifying the problem and then taking action. It is just like that for all of us, children included. But just figuring out the best option is not enough, action in the form of a decision is required.
The common wisdom on problem-solving and decision-making points to three main factors, and all of them have to do with questioning: First, good answers to problems are based primarily on the availability of correct information, which allows an individual or a team (preferably) to map out scenarios and choose the right course of action. Asking the right questions is vital. Second, the real secret to solving a problem, and therefore increasing the chances of a good decision, is knowing how to get the relevant information, and how to process it correctly. Third, the key is to make the information work for the problem solvers and decision makers. Squeeze as much information about the problem as possible. In short, Infoliteracy is a vital skill.
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Excerpted from my book Hybrid Learning.