Mindtools for Argumentation, and their Role in Promoting Ill-Structured Problem Solving

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Helping students gain skills in problem solving is a key goal in twenty-first century education (Kuhn, 2007; Warschauer & Matuchniak, 2010). No longer is it enough to simply have a body of accumulated knowledge; rather, one needs to be able to apply knowledge to solve problems (Carnevale & Desrochers, 2003; Casner-Lotto & Barrington, 2006). But the type of problem solving students need to learn is not represented by the classic story problems that many remember from mathematics class. Determining when two trains travelling in opposite directions will meet is not an authentic problem in that it does not represent the kind of problems people face in the real world. As Jonassen (2000) noted, the kind of problems encountered in the real world are ill-structured problems, which cannot be solved by applying a simple procedure or with only the presented information. As such, students need to address ill-structured problems in school (Jonassen, 2000). Simply providing students with an ill-structured problem and expecting them to solve it is not productive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLearning, Problem Solving, and Mindtools
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honor of David H. Jonassen
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781136277368
ISBN (Print)9780415524353
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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