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How can we use Design-Thinking Process
to improve Problem Solving and Education?

 
teachers doing DEEPdt Design ThinkingThis is the home-page for a website – developed by Craig Rusbult, PhD in C&I,* during life on a road less traveled – about Education for Problem Solving.  My web-pages explore educational strategies & activities that we – myself and other educators with similar goals, cooperatively working together – can develop and use, to help students improve their problem-solving abilities (in all areas of life) by increasing their problem-solving experience and improving their problem-solving process.

{ * at the U of Wisconsin, my PhD project was constructing a model for thinking skills and using it for education }    { links with green shading go to other parts of this HomePage-Introductory Overview }    { who I'm writing for – other educators – and why }    {contact-email: craigru178-att-yahoo-daut-caum}

 

K-12 Education:  This website is mostly about education in K-12 schools.  But the ideas also can be useful for teaching younger children at home and in pre-school, or for older students in college, and for people in everyday life.

 

Education and Problem-Solving Activities:  With educationally valuable broad definitions, education is learning from life-experiences, and a problem is an opportunity to make things better in any area of life.  Whenever you try to make things better you are problem solving, so your problem-solving activities include almost everything you do in life.*   This wide scope makes it easier for teachers to find problem-solving activities that are fun and life-relevant, are useful for helping students improve their problem-solving skills for everyday living.  And it lets us build two-way educational bridges between school and life, to increase the motivation & confidence of students.  There is widespread agreement about the many benefits of problem-solving skills in all areas of life, because making things better is always useful.  I think my ideas (working together) could be especially useful in education for K-12.    /    { * why "almost everything"?  as a problem-solving objective you can want to improve a product, activity, relationship, strategy, and/or theory }    { we can learn more by getting more experiences and using a growth mindset }

 

Problem-Solving Activities should be FUN and USEFUL:  We want to develop activities that are fun for students, and will be useful for them.

Students doing Design Thinking    • FUN in Two Ways:  An activity will be “fun” when students enjoy the experience – due to the intrinsic nature of the activity, because the topic is interesting for them (not just for the teacher) and their actions are exciting – AND when they anticipate success & do succeed.  We can help students increase their anticipating-and-actualizing of success by using a series of activities with gradually increasing appropriate difficulty,* aiming for levels of challenge that are always “just right” with a well-designed problem situation (as in a well-written mystery story) so students won't be bored if it's too easy, or discouraged if it's too difficult, so they will be challenged but they will succeed and will enjoy the satisfaction of success.     {levels of difficulty can be adjusted for different students by using adaptive technologies, personally-customized guiding by a teacher,...}

    • USEFUL for Students:  We want activities to be educationally useful for students, and this means personally useful for them, with "useful" defined by their goals.  We should try to understand the goals of students – by learning their perspectives, thinking with empathy – so we can use their goals to guide our goals for their education, in our goal-directed designing of their problem-solving activities and (in broader planning) their curriculum & instruction.     {students with stories - personal diversity & activity diversity and success}

Personal Education:  We can help students develop personal motivations to pursue personal goals by using education, so they make it their personal education.  We can ask students to think about their personal goals for life, and help them develop a proactive problem-solving approach for their own personal education when they ask “how can I solve a problem (how can I make things better) by learning more from my experiences in life – both inside & outside school – so my learning will make things better for myself (and for others)*, will help me achieve my goals for life?”     {* With whole-person education we can help students develop virtuous goals that will promote long-term deep satisfactions because they have win-win goals in life, wanting to make things better for themselves and also for other people.}

 

EDUCATIONAL BRIDGES:  My simplest model for Problem-Solving Process – with people solving problems by creatively Generating Ideas and critically Evaluating Ideas – helps us show students how they use a similar process of problem solving for almost everything they do in life, in school-life and everyday life.  This broad scope lets us build two-way bridges for students – from life into school, and school into life – that will improve their transfers of learning (inside & outside school) and transitions of attitudes (by improving their motivations for wanting to learn, and their confidence in being able to learn).    {more about bridges}

 


 
The basic ideas (above) are explored in depth (below), after I explain the purpose of...
 

Part 1 and Part 2:  In this Homepage-Overview, Part 1 is my perspectives on ideas that you (as an experienced educator) already know well, so while you're reading it you probably are thinking “yes” because you mainly agree.*  Part 2 is about my Model for Problem-Solving Process, with ideas that I'm confident can be a useful part of an overall strategy for achieving the worthy goals in Part 1.

two purposes:  I want to work with other educators, so I'm hoping that while reading Part 1 you'll be thinking “Craig is one of us, is with us and for us, he understands.”  And during Part 2, “he is different, with innovative ideas that could be useful, and working with him will help us improve our education, so we should combine our understandings and skills."  Or maybe you'll just want to use the ideas, without me, working among yourselves.

* And sometimes when you see my ideas (about goals, factors, strategies & actions,...) you'll think “yes, and...” by adding your own ideas, or “yes, but...” when you mainly agree but not in all ways, so you think modified ideas would be better, or even “no because...” — and all of these responses can be useful in a collaboration.

Part 1 begins above (with "basic ideas") and continues below with "Working Together..." in the green box.

Part 2 begins with your explorations of my Model for Problem Solving.  Then I explain what the Model is (and isn't), and its benefits for students, and how we can use it to improve our Education for Problem Solving.

 


options for viewing:  If you have a large screen, you can "put [this] page into left frame" (if it isn't there now) by using the top-of-page link, or (to keep you “here in the page”) this link.  It's useful to have left & right frames – and therefore it's recommended – because most links open in the right-side frame, which lets you read a linked-to section without losing your place in this left frame.  But if you're viewing on a small-screen tablet (or phone), you may want to "open only this page" and then usually a link will open in its own new window.

 

 

Working Together to Improve Education

by combining our Understandings & Skills

I want to work with other educators to develop our ideas – yours and mine – for how to help students improve their creative-and-critical thinking skills and their effective using of problem-solving process in all areas of life.  I think many other educators also are deciding (like I have) that strategies for improving our problem-solving education are worth developing and (by converting our strategy-ideas into classroom-actions) actualizing.  To do this developing-and-actualizing, collaboration is necessary because although I have some understandings and skills, I need help from other educators who (by learning from their experiences) have different kinds of understandings and skills.

Others have deeper understandings of classroom teaching and student motivations & behaviors, or of the educational culture that is created by people (students, teachers, administrators, parents, community) through their actions & attitudes, that produces the systems ecology & learning atmosphere in schools.  Or they have developed practical skills in finding and/or designing fun problem-solving activities (involving challenges, games, mysteries,... plus discussions) and doing them in fun ways.  Or in coordinating the activities of many teachers into a synergistic wide spiral curriculum.  And they can decide (in their positions as teachers, curriculum developers, administrators) that “yes, we'll do these activities.”

Earlier I explain how Part 1 is mostly "ideas that you [if you're a teacher or administor] already know well," and you're thinking “yes” or “yes, and” or “yes, but” or “no because”.  My main goal in writing Part 1 is to describe a “common ground” for us, where we mostly agree (although with some differences) about shared goals that we can pursue with strategies-and-actions;  for doing this, typically your understandings and skills will be more useful than mine.  But in Part 2, hopefully you'll see how my understandings and skills will be useful when we're working together, because my models (in Part 2) can help us achieve our goals (in Part 1).  With creative collaborations that combine our understandings and skills, together we can pursue shared goals, working cooperatively to design goal-directed curriculum & instruction that is a better match for how students like to learn (and are able to learn), and how teachers like to teach.

 

Learning for Your Future:  Teachers can build & use educational bridges to promote transfers of ideas-and-skills to different situations (this is the usual meaning of transfer) and also (in the essential purpose of education) between different times.  With a transfer-of-learning from past to present, the ideas & skills you learned in the past are helping you now.  With a transfer-of-learning from present to future, what you're learning now will help you in the future.  Maya Angelou described how your learning (in the past and present) affects your performance in the present & future, now & later: "Do the best you can [now] until you know better. Then [later] when you know better, do better."  Later, when you have learned from experience (with self-education) so you "know better," you can "do better."  In your future, you can be more effective in "making things better," and this improved problem solving will be a beneficial result of your education, of your learning from experience in the past.

 

present-to-future transfer with Growth Mindset:  One of the best ways to learn more effectively is by developing-and-using a better growth mindset so — when you ask yourself “how well am I doing in this area of life?” and honestly answer “not well enough” — you are thinking “not yet” (instead of “not ever”) because you are confident that in this area of life (as in most areas, including those that are most important) you can “grow” by improving your skills, when you invest intelligent effort in your personal education.

 

present and/or future – Performing and/or Learning:  When you want your best possible performance now, you're on-task with a Performance Objective.  When you want your best possible learning now, so you can improve your best possible performance later, you're on-task with a Learning Objective, a Self-Education Objective.  Maya Angelou says "when you know better, do better."  This "do better" happens in two ways, in two stages.  First, you will "know better" by learning from experience, so your potential performance has improved and you can do better.  Second, this potential must be actualized by converting “can do better” into “are doing better” with high-quality performing.   /   a summary: After your learning has improved your potential performance, this potential to “do it better” can be actualized in reality with high-quality performing.

Why is "and/or" in the title of this section?  Because when you're doing something, you can try to maximize your learning now, or your performing now, or both.  For example, think about the goals for a basketball player, and team, during a practice (when the main goal is to learn better now, to prepare for their future) compared with a tournament game (when the main goal is to perform better now, in their present), and how this goal-difference affects everything.    {more about performing and/or learning and/or enjoying and student motivations from short-term enjoyings and long-term satisfactions}

 

Better Education – More and More:  Your education is your learning from life-experiences (so you can learn how to improve, how to become more effective at “making things better” in all areas of your life), so you can produce better education by getting more experiences, and learning more from your experiences.  You can learn from all experiences – whether you view the result as a failure or success, or (more likely) some of each – in all areas of life.

Learning More from Experiences:  You often can learn more with strategies for thinking to effectively regulate your metacognition by deciding when to avoid it or use it, and how.  In a metacognitive reflection activity, you (or your students) reflect onobserve and think about – “what you did” and “what happened,” and then ask “with different actions, could the results have been better?” so you can learn from the experience and do it better the next time, to improve your performing-learning-enjoying.   /   Another valuable thinking strategy is coordinating your problem-solving process by making action-decisions about "what to do next" based on your awareness-of-situation and knowledge-of-actions, in a way that is analogous to the flexible goal-directed improvising of a hockey player, but not the rigid choreography of a figure skater.

 

Getting More Experiences:  By getting more experiences, you can learn more.  If you're not overly worried about making mistakes when it doesn't matter much – by contrast with “don't make a mistake” situations like mountain climbing or car driving – you can decide to “go for it” in a wider range of situations.  By doing this you'll get a wider range of experiences, with more opportunities for lifelong learning in your personal education.  You'll be using an adventurous “wanting to learn” strategy to increase your experience-and-learning, like Pablo Picasso who wanted to “often be doing what I cannot do now, so I may learn how to do it.”  You also can use this strategy, so you can get more experiences and learn more.  In school, teachers can help students look forward to challenging activities, including their problem-solving adventures, with a growth mindset.  We can help them do intentional learning (defined as "the practice of treating every experience as an opportunity to learn something") and seek opportunities for learning that will help them achieve their personal goals.     {we can learn from both failure and success, as illustrated in experiences of solving, improvising, driving, juggling, skiing, backhanding, pronouncing, and welding}    {but... when you try something new, you may wonder if "cannot do now" will become “cannot do ever” so we ask... what are the interactions between an adventurous attitude – with a desire to get more experiences – and a desire to avoid failure?}

 

Getting Useful Experiences:  In every classroom, students have stories.  These cause variations, from one student to another, in the usefulness of experience-producing activities that are opportunities for learning.  Although all students are similar in the most important ways, each has a personal story that makes them unique, with their own distinctives.  The “story” of each student is formed by the complex blending of abilities they inherit, plus attitudes (like motivations & confidences) and skills (using multiple “intelligences” in many areas of life) they develop, with personal growth (mental, emotional, social, physical) affected by characteristics (gender, race,...) and situations (re: family, friends, community, school), by their experiences in nonschool-life & school-life.  We see mutual interactions between psychologies & sociologies in stories of whole persons & their whole communities.   /   You can use remembering (of past students) and imagining (of possible stories, like a before-and-after story of how a teacher helped make life better for a student) to see how all of this produces a wide variety of student attitudes, skills, and whole-life situations.  And to see why we should think about the beneficial connections between...

Student Diversity and Activities Diversity:  Each student "has a personal story that makes them unique," and some will experience more success in problem-solving activities than in traditional activities.*  The emotional & motivational rewards of success – and we want this for more students, with wider diversity – will improve their self-image, and their motivations for learning if they see their schoolwork as part of a personal education that is personally useful, is motivated and guided by their pursuit of personal goals for life.  We can use logic plus observations — that students differ, and whole-person education has many kinds of goals, and different goals are better taught with different teaching approaches, and each approach has (as in 80-20) diminishing “marginal returns” – to conclude that "we should try to design eclectic instruction by combining the best features of different approaches into a synergistic blend that produces an optimal overall result (a greater good for a greater number) in helping students achieve worthy educational goals."    {* and "more success" often co-occurs with “more intrinsic enjoying” for two kinds of fun}

 


Options:  after the rest of this Home-Page
OVERVIEW Educational Bridges and
My Models for Problem-Solving Process
and Using Process-Models for Education
— a Big-Picture Overview will show you
Four Ways to EXPLORE THE WEBSITE.

 
EDUCATIONAL BRIDGES – Part 2
{to supplement the summary in Part 1}
Why should we build bridges, and How?
What should the bridges do for students?
 
Why – Some Benefits of Two-Way Bridges:   We can help students improve their motivations and confidence, when we...

build educational bridges from school into life to show students how they are using (and will be using) their improved problem-solving skills for "almost everything they do" in their life, because the skills they're learning in school transfer into life, helping them "make things better" in life and achieve their goals for life.  When students want to learn in school because they are learning for life, this will improve their Motivations to Learn.

build educational bridges from life into school to show students that in school they are not learning new skills, instead they are improving familiar skills they have been using in everyday life.  This familiarity can give them confidence when they think “I've done this before in life, so I also can do it in school,” to increase their Confidence about Learning, because they believe – with a Growth Mindset – that they will grow (by improving their skills) when they invest intelligent effort in their learning.   

 
Whyto promote Transfers and Transitions:   The two-way bridges we build can improve...

transfers of learning,  with better transfers of ideas-and-skills to different situations (between school-life & nonschool-life, and within each part of life), and to different times (from past to present, and from present to future) so in addition to helping students improve their current performing, they also (by learning now) can improve their future performing, so they can get more satisfactions now and also later.   /   motivation for time-transfer:  We can help students be motivated so they want better future performing, when we encourage them to do intentional learning for themselves (so it's goal-directed personal education) by defining worthy goals-for-life (to improve themselves and their situations) and making practical plans for achieving their goals, by pursuing their goals with effective activities.    {students can be motivated by two kinds of fun in school activities, by experiencing short-term enjoyment and anticipating long-term satisfactions, with satisfactions achieved more effectively when they develop-and-use growth mindsets}   We can encourage intentional learning by promoting...

transitions in attitudes,  by improving motivations (to learn) and confidence (about learning) for a broader diversity of students, providing a wider variety of opportunities for learning in school, and success in school.  We can help more students develop their whole-person potentials so they will say “yes, I can do this” for a wider variety of options in their lives, in their career choices (for what they want “to do”) and life choices (for who they want “to be”).

 
What – Goals for Whole-Person Education:   We want to provide whole-person education for whole life, to help students improve their knowledge & skills in many areas of life,* using multiple intelligences.  We want to Define Goals for Knowledge & Skills, so we can Design Instruction using Goal-Directed Activities.  Due to the wide range of possibilities for educational goals, we must ask “how much of our educational resources (time, people, money,...) should be invested in each kind of goal?”    {more: thinking about “school-life + nonschool-life → whole-life” for students, when building educational bridges}    /   * problem-solving skills should supplement – not replace – basic skills like reading & math;*  and knowledge is important, because the productive thinking we use in solving problems (and thus in almost everything we do) combines relevant subject-area knowledge with creative thinking & critical thinking.    {* is reading skill a problem-solving skill?}
 
Howby using Broad Definitions and a Simple Model:   With broad definitions for problem (it's "any opportunity to make things better, in any area of life") and problem solving (it's "whenever you try to make things better") we can show students that "their problem-solving activities include almost everything they do in life," both inside school and outside school.  And by using my simplest model for problem-solving process — when students Define a Problem, then try to Solve this Problem with creative-and-critical thinking, by creatively Generating Ideas and critically Evaluating Ideas — teachers can show students that they use the same basic process to solve problems (to "make things better") in school-life and in everyday life, so we can build connecting bridges between school and life.   /   How can we "show" students?  One useful teaching strategy is to use...

Discovery Learning for Process, with

Experience + Reflection → Principles:   How can teachers help students recognize the problem-solving process they do in everyday life, and are doing in school?  With a series of ERP Discovery-Activities, by using a process of inquiry — with Experience (when students are solving problems) plus Reflections (on their Experiences, plus discussions with peers & teacher) that help them recognize Principles (for problem-solving process) — to teach principles for inquiry, to help students improve their process of problem solving.     {more about learning by “discovery” with ERP}   {why should we expect Experience-plus-Principles to be more effective than Experience by itself?}

Discovering is Recognizing:   When students are using ERP Activities to observe (and learn from) their own problem-solving actions, instead of discovering they are recognizing.  Because of this focus on their own actions, “Discovery Learning” – that actually is Recognition Learning – can work much better for learning-about-process than it does for a learning-of-concepts.

Below – at the beginning of Part 2 – is an opportunity for Discovery Learning, for discovering useful insights about problem-solving process:

3 Elements in 3 Comparison-ChecksThis diagram shows actions that a person does while they are Evaluating an Option (for a Problem-Solution), when they are trying to find a Solution that will achieve the GOALS they want.  You can study this Actions Diagram — creatively exploring it by thinking about what each part is (i.e. what action is being done) and how the parts interact — and think about your own experiences, asking “what part of my problem-solving process is in each part of the diagram?” and you'll be “Learning by Recognition” as described above.     { what can you do if the diagram is too small? }

more opportunities for discovering:  You can creatively explore all of the 4 Stages in my Model – including models in Stages 3 (above) and (below) 1 and 2 – in a page with 10 visually-logical Action Diagrams.

spoiler alert:  If you want to fully explore the Action Diagram(s) so you can “discover more” on your own, do it now – maybe using these questions to stimulate your thinking – before you read the following descriptions of my models for problem solving.

 

Problem-Solving Strategies and Models

basic 2-Step Cycle of Problem-Solving Processa simple model for how we solve problems:  Much of the time during life, you “just do things” without using any kind of strategy.  But your problem-solving skills can improve when you use problem-solving strategies.  For example, this Actions Diagram shows how you can decide that you will DEFINE a Problem (Learn about a Problem-Situation, Define your Objective, Define your Goals for a Satisfactory Solution) and try to SOLVE this Problem with creative-and-critical thinking by Generating-and-Evaluating Options (for a Problem-Solution that achieves your Goals) when you Generate-and-Evaluate-and-Generate-and-Evaluate-and... (and so on) in repeating Cycles of Design.

 

timings:  each Actions Diagram shows the multiple actions that occur at different times – not simultaneously – during a process of problem solving.  Therefore a diagram IS NOT a snapshot photo of what is happening at any specific time.  Instead, each multi-action diagram IS like a photo that shows all actions in a time-lapse video showing “the action being done now” during an entire process of problem solving.  For each process-of-solving the sequence of actions is different, because making Action-Decisions about "what to do next" IS analogous to the flexible goal-directed improvising of a hockey player, but IS NOT like the rigid choreography of a figure skater.

a family of models → a Model:  Above you've seen two Action Diagrams;  each is a model for problem-solving process.  A complex model (described visually-and-verbally in a diagram showing "actions that a person does while they are Evaluating an Option") is followed by a simple model (showing "Define a Problem" and "Solve this Problem").  These two models are part of a “family of related models” that combine to form my overall Model, as explained later.   /   And we can work together to develop strategies for creatively combining My Model plus Other Models in ways that make the combination of Models better than any single Model by itself.

 

Simplicity and Symmetry

a Simplicity of Process:   Above you see my simplest model for problem solving, when a person Defines a Problem and tries to Solve this Problem by Generating-and-Evaluating Options (for a Problem-Solution) in iterative Cycles of Design.  This simplicity lets a teacher SHOW students how they use a similar process-of-thinking for almost everything they do in life.  This wide scope – and the simplicity of "generate and evaluate" when they solve problems – lets us build educational transfer-bridges between life and school, with transfers (of knowledge & skills) and transitions (of attitudes) in both directions, to improve the problem-solving abilities & confidence & motivations of students, for better diversity & equity in education Later, for deeper understanding, you can help students discover...

Diagram 2a - showing Symmetry of Design Processa Symmetry of Process:   During their process of problem solving, students Design and Do two kinds of experience-producing Experiments (done mentally to make PREDICTIONS & physically to make OBSERVATIONS as shown on the left side & right side of the diagram) so they can Use their PREDICTIONS & OBSERVATIONS by comparing these with GOALS in two kinds of evaluative QUALITY CHECKS.  In every Check-for-Quality, students are asking (for the Option being evaluated) The Design Question:  “how close is the match between this Option's actual properties (that they have predicted or observed) and their desired Goal-properties?” which is asking “how high is the quality?” because Quality is defined by their Goals for a satisfactory Problem-Solution.  Then with Guided Generation,* the differences (between actual & desired) can guide-and-stimulate them to creatively Generate a new Option that will come closer to their Goal.    /    Two Questions:  We use 3 Elements (Predictions & Observations, Goals) in 3 Comparisons to ask Two Kinds of QuestionsThe Design Question (in a Quality Check), and The Science Question (in a Reality Check, symbolized by the yellow-green dashed line, – – – – – , connecting Predictions & Observations) asking “am I surprised?”     { a visually logical organizing of process-principles has educational utility – and I like the elegant beauty of simplicity, and symmetry }

 


Size-Adjusting Options:  If an Actions Diagram is too small, you can right-click on the image, then choose "Open Image in New Window" and adjust its size & location.   Or if this page is in a half-width frame, put it into its own full-width tab or window (some browsers let you do this when you right-click in a “white area” of the frame);   or use my top-of-page links.  Or sometimes I'll provide links that let you open a diagrams-page in the right-side frame` or (to make it even larger) in its own full-width window.

 

using my Model (+ other Models)

in Education for Problem Solving

 

Why?   my Model-for-process is intended to be accurate and useful,

    to accurately describe the process that people use when we are solving problems, and
    to be educationally useful, to help people improve their understanding-of-process and (more important) their performing-with-process when they are solving problems.
 

What?   My overall Model (capitalized) is a systematically organized family of models – used in a 4-Stage progression of learning – that are different versions of the same Model, with each model featuring different aspects of the Model that I call Design Process.  (or Design-Thinking Process)

What?   Above, you've seen three models:  one is complex (it's Stage 3, Using Comparisons to Evaluate an Option) and I encouraged you to “study it, creatively explore it,” to learn by self-discovering before you read my descriptions;   then I explain Define-and-Solve (showing Simplicity of Process, in Stage 1) and Evaluating an Option (showing Symmetry of Process – with Mental Experiments & Physical Experiments – in Stage 2).  Each of these models is represented in a visual-and-verbal Actions Diagram that shows some of the essential Actions (usually mental, sometimes also physical) we use while we're solving problems.   In these models, the same Model-process is being viewed from three different model-perspectives and is described in three different ways, with differing levels of detail, by including some problem-solving actions, but not other actions.    {how sub-models form a total-Model of Design Process}

 

What-and-Why?   Design Process is a Model containing 4 main models.  Each model is accurate in different ways – by selecting different actions to include & exclude, and because problem-solving process varies from one life-situation to another – and is educationally useful in different ways.   In a 4-Stage Progression of Learning using the 4 models in my Model for Design Process,

    Stage 1 shows the Simplicity of Defining a Problem and then trying to Solve this Problem with cycles of critical Evaluation and creative Generation.  It's useful as an overview-of-actions, and to help students recognize how their school-Actions are also life-Actions they use outside school in their everyday living.  This recognition can help them understand some of the many connections between school-life and everyday life, so they can build two-way educational bridges

    Stage 2 supplements this by showing the Symmetry in their Doing-and-Using of Mental Experiments & Physical Experiments when they Evaluate an Option by generating Predictions & Observations that they Use in Quality Checks by comparing Actual Properties (Predicted or Observed) with the Desired Properties defined by their Goals for a Problem-Solution.

    Stage 3 supplements this with a deeper examination – especially in Diagram 3b that shows "revise Option?" and "revise Model?" – of the productive interactions between critical thinking & creative thinking, when students critically Evaluate and creatively Generate, to help them understand the and in Evaluate-and-Generate when critical Evaluative Thinking stimulates-and-guides creative Generative Thinking during their next Cycle of Design by Evaluating-and-Generating with critical-and-creative Guided Generation.*   It also shows differences – in Objectives & Evaluations – between General Design and Science-Design;  students ask The Design Question (“how well does This Option match my Goals?”) in every Quality Check, and they ask The Science Question (“am I surprised?” because Observations don't match Predictions) in every Reality Check.     {* your Evaluation of an Option helps you decide whether to reject it or accept it as-is, or modify it by asking “in what ways do this option's actual properties (predicted or observed) differ from the desired properties I have defined as Goals?” and then “how can I creatively modify This Option to Generate a New Option with actual properties that will more closely match the desired properties I want?” }    {creativity in guided generation-by-revision}   {four ways to use experiences}

Also, although not described in this homepage:

    • Stage 4 (written description & action diagram) is a deeper examination of similarities & differences between General Design and Science-Design, especially in our Designing of Experiments.

    10 Modes of Problem-Solving is a semi-model – a system of functionally related modes of action (mental and/or physical) – that becomes a model when the modes are logically organized in educationally productive ways to show the coherent integration of productive actions (in these modes) to form a productive process.  The descriptions in these 10 Modes is mainly verbal, by contrast with Stages 1-2-3-4 that describe actions verbally-and-visually.

 

Why?   When students use Design Process, they get long-term educational benefits when they combine insights from all models into a Model, because they are constructing a deeper understanding of problem-solving process.

Why?   By using Design Process, students get long-term educational benefits when they combine insights from all models into a Model, because they are constructing a deeper understanding of problem-solving process.  But will better understanding-of-process help students improve their doing-of-process?  Probably.  In a section about why we should teach Design Process I explain why, due to the many probable benefits for students, "using Design Process might be very useful in education, so the possibilities are worth exploring and developing."  Why?  Design Process can help students learn problem-solving principles, and based on evidence and logic – using what we know about thinking (including cognition-and-metacognition), learning & performing, and more – we should expect a well-designed combination of “experience plus principles” to be more educationally effective than experience by itself, to help students improve their creative-and-critical thinking skills and their whole-process skills when they are solving problems (with General Design) and understanding the world (with Science-Design).

How?   Students cannot immediately construct a "deep understanding" of problem solving.  Their process of understanding requires time.  A basic strategy for “how” is to use progressions of learning (beginning with simple models, then gradually increasing the complexity) so we can help students gradually construct increasingly deeper understandings of their problem-solving process, of their own personal Model that is useful for them, is being used by them.  One teaching method is discovery learning when students use a process of inquiry to learn principles for inquiry.     {of course, a progression of learning is necessary for everyone, for students & teachers, for me & you & others;  e.g. I described your "creative exploration" of an Actions Diagram for Stage 3 as "a challenging example of Discovery Learning" }   {more about using a process of inquiry to teach principles for inquiry}

 

combining my Model with other Models

iou  —  soon (in mid-April) I'll write this section, using these ideas:

When we're working together, one objective to co-pursue will be developing strategies for creatively combining different models-for-process, trying to optimize their combined benefits in ways that are synergistically supportive, that make a combination of models better than any of the models by itself.

my page about Using Other Models-for-Process in Education describes other models, and strategies for combining them with my Model-and-models;  below here, some links go to this page.

other models:  probably I'll cite Engineering is Elementary, d.school (of Stanford), POE (Predict-Observe-Explain) & CRE (Claim-Evidence-Reasoning), plus SRL (Self-Regulated Learning) and maybe others, and link to places in dp-om.htm that explain how using Design Process is compatible with each of these other Models, how a well-designed combination of Models (mine + another) will be better than either Model by itself.

WHY — Typically, models-for-process are educationally useful in two ways, by offering structures (for instruction) and strategies (for thinking).*  Each model has its own structure & strategies, so each offers its own distinctive benefits for students.  When we effectively combine the structures & strategies from two (or more) models, we combine their benefits.  We can design effective ways to combine structures, and combine strategies.   {using structures and strategies in problem-solving education}

[[ * strategies (some examples) -- this page has 9 activities to stimulate critical thinking, and another 9 for creative thinking;  also, links in my creative.htm#zz, maybe elsewhere ]]

[[ * structures are examined in the next two paragraphs ]]

HOW [structures] — * We should search for effective ways to combine models, to pursue our goal of improving education for ideas-and-skills.  We should try to design curriculum & instruction that creatively combines long-term phases (used in all models-for-process, including Design Process) and short-term sequences (in Design Process)* to produce model-interactions that are synergistically supportive, that make a combination-of-models better than any model by itself.   /   Two key sequences show the Quality Checks & Reality Checks we use when Thinking for Design & Thinking for Science.   /   [this description will be combined with the following almost-duplicate description]  • WHAT [structures] — One “strategy for combining” is showing how short-time sequences (in Design Process) occur within longer-time phases (in all models, including Design Process), to help students understand how their creative-and-critical productive thinking actually occurs in these short-time actions & sequences.

[methods of teaching] -- Two “ways to combine” are:  1) begin with my Model – using it early (with my simplest model) and, after also using another Model(s), again later (with my other models);   2) begin with another Model and later supplement it with my Model.   {descriptions of these two ways}

 

This is the end of the Homepage-Overview.

 


 

 

Exploring the Website

You can begin in four ways:

 

by studying a table of contents to get a “big picture” view of the website.    {note: below here inside the gray-box, all links open in this frame, replacing it.}

  Then you can learn more deeply by clicking the table's links to explore and discover.  But before doing in-depth explorations, you probably will want to get an overview of the main ideas,...

 

by reading (or re-reading) the introductory overview in this Homepage.

 

by reading a page about Building Educational Bridges that explains how we can use the wide scope of problem-solving Design Thinking (it includes almost everything we do in life) to build two-way bridges — from life into school, and back into life — that will improve transfers of learning and transitions of attitudes.  These bridges will help a wider diversity of students (each with their own personal story) improve their confidence & motivations and problem-solving skills, for better educational equity.  Basically, we can (and should) help more students improve themselves, by giving them a wider variety of experiences, and helping them learn more from their experiences.

 

and by using the rest of this home-page, by reading its text and (to learn more about the ideas) clicking its links;  the main content...

begins with...
    a brief Website Overview,
and continues with overview-summaries about...
[ iou - the order has changed, and I'll revise it below, tonight March 15]
    Defining Our Goals  and  Pursuing Our Goals,
followed by
    my model for how we use Design Process to solve problems,
        Simplicity  +  Symmetry (with verbal/visual thinking) and
        4 Ways to Use Experiences (that come from Experiments);
    why broad definitions are useful for problem-solving education,
    Learn by Discovery (use inquiry-Process to teach inquiry-Principles),
    Combine Experience with Reflection and Principles, (why?)
    Combine Design Process with Other Models-for-Process, (how?)
and then more about the main topics.
 
 

 

This brief Website Overview summarizes its main ideas.     {a tip:  when you click links, they'll open on the right side, so you should put this page on the left side` – and then you can use the right-side's colorized Table of Contents to get another kind of Website Overview}
 

During my PhD project I designed a model of Science Process.  It has been generalized into a broader model of Design Process (including updated Science Process) that describes the flexibly improvised creative-and-critical productive thinking we use for doing almost everything in life when we solve problems by designing better products, activities, relationships, strategies, and explanatory theories.

This wide scope of design thinking (used for Science-Design & General Design) lets teachers coordinate design activities across all subject areas and student ages, designing goal-directed curriculum & instruction to improve ideas-and-skills in each area and to build educational bridges that promote transfers of learning (between areas and into life) and transitions of attitudes (to improve educational equity).  Students’ motivations to learn increase when they recognize the personal benefits of skillful design thinking, including its use for cognitive-and-metacognitive Thinking Strategies to improve their learning & performing & enjoying in all areas of life.

experience + principles:  I think students can learn more from their inquiry experiences (in design-inquiry and science-inquiry that's blended into eclectic instruction) if we teach inquiry principles using Design Process.*  How?  With wise guiding and metacognitive reflection plus verbal/visual explanations of Design Process` while trying to maintain flow-and-fun.   /   * e.g., We can show students 4 Ways to Use Experiences (to Use Experiments) that include Comparing Goals with Predictions or with Observations in Quality Checks (so their critical idea-Evaluation can guide their creative idea-Generation in Cycles of General Design) and Comparing Predictions with Observations in Reality Checks (used for Science-Design).

collaboration:  I want to work cooperatively with other educators, developing creative uses of Design Process to improve education for thinking skills-and-process at all levels, in K-12 through college and with informal education.

 

This summary is expanded in a longer Website-Overview.

 



 

Defining Our Goals for Teaching Ideas-and-Skills

We should design curriculum & instruction that will help students improve not just their knowledge of ideas, but also their creative-and-critical thinking skills and problem-solving process. 

Why?  The Many Benefits of Problem-Solving Skills  [[ IOU – soon, probably April 6-8, I'll write a brief summary – to describe the widespread agreement about the many benefits of problem-solving skills in all areas of life, because making things better is always useful – and will make links to resources about this agreement (like these 4 links, "the many benefits...problem-solving skills...all areas...life" and some in my 3 pages about "___ in Education" where "___" is Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving. ]]

How?  We can...

2-Step Cycle of Design (simple diagram)
        Show students how to combine their thinking skills (creative-and-critical) into a flexible thinking process (also creative-and-critical) that is more effective for solving problems, for "making it better" in any area of life.  We begin by helping students discover the Simplicity-of-Process [summarized in the diagram] when they DEFINE a Problem, and then to SOLVE the Problem they creatively GENERATE Options (for a Problem-Solution) and critically EVALUATE Options, in creative-and-critical Cycles of Design.
        then, for deeper understanding, we let students see (as in Diagram 2 - described here) the Symmetry-of-Process when they do a Mental Experiment & do a Physical Experiment to produce the Predictions & Observations they use for 3 Comparisons in evaluative Quality Checks (for General Design) and evaluative Reality Checks (for Science-Design).     { I define Experiment broadly – it's any situation that produces Experience, that allows Predicting or Observing (more) – because this is educationally useful, and so are broad definitions for problem & education. }   {General Design and Science-Design}
 
    help students discover how they Use Experiences in 4 Ways and how they ask The Design Question (“how well does This Option match my Goals?”) in every Quality Check, and they ask The Science Question (“am I surprised?” if Observations don't match Predictions) in every Reality Check;  when educators do this, we help students discover (and improve) the process of thinking they use for General Design (with Quality Checks) and for Science-Design (with Reality Checks), we help them discover their essential Process-of-Thinking for Design and their essential Process-of-Thinking for Science, or simply their Thinking for Design and Thinking for Science.     {in STEM Education, The Design Question can be called The Engineering Question, because Engineering is one type of General Design}
    design thought-stimulating inquiry activities involving science-inquiry & design-inquiry and argumentation and thinking strategies.*  We can make these activities life-relevant for students by showing them how they use design thinking for almost everything in life.*  This wide scope of design thinking lets us...
    build integrative educational bridges to promote transfers-of-learning and transitions-of-attitudes.  We can build two-way bridges — from life into school, and back into life, spanning all subject areas (including engineering & science) — that will improve students' motivations to learn and their transfers of learning from school into life.  When these bridges improve their motivations & learning-transfers, and promote attitude-transitions, this will...
    help a wider range of students (for better diversity & equity) improve important ideas-AND-skills that include thinking with empathy` in relationships and projects
 

* Students can use Design Process to develop strategies for thinking so they can more effectively regulate their cognition/metacognition (by deciding when to avoid metacognition or use it, and how) and use reflection to help them learn more from their experiences in a wide range of activities to improve their performing and/or learning (+ enjoying) in many areas of life.  One valuable thinking strategy is coordinating their thinking-and-actions by making decisions (how?) about “what to do next” during a process of design.     {another thinking strategy is using prayer for effective living with problem solving}

* I use a wide-scope definition of design thinking.  Is this justifiable? and is it useful for education?  –  What is Design Thinking? (criteria & definitions)     /     But... although I originally claimed "we use design thinking for almost everything in life" I'm now thinking that either this claim should be narrowed, or "design thinking" should be more broadly defined so it includes two interactive aspects of thinking (conscious & subconscious) that we typically combine when we're generating-and-evaluating ideas.     {i.o.u. – Soon, maybe in April 2022, these ideas will be examined more thoroughly, here. }

 

LINKS  —  This homepage has lots of links that you can choose to ignore or explore.   {most links open on the right side, so if necessary you should (why?) put this page on the left side by using the link here or in the upper-right corner of page}

 

Pursuing Our Goals for Ideas-and-Skills Education

Because we have reasons to expect that using Design Process (so we're combining experience with principles) might help us achieve our worthy goals more effectively, the possibilities for using Design Process are worth exploring and developing.  I want to collaborate with other educators so we can explore possibilities and develop our ideas, especially by developing strategies for creatively combining different models-for-process in ways that are synergistically supportive, that make a combination of models better than any model by itself.

How and Why?  We can show students how short-term sequences (in Design Process) occur within long-term phases (used in all models for process, including Design Process);  this awareness will help students understand how their creative-and-critical productive thinking occurs in the context of these short-term actions & sequences.     {more about HOW to effectively combine structures (for instruction) and strategies (for thinking)}  {two sequencing-strategies for combining models}

Collaboration is necessary because although I feel skilled in some ways (like developing the ideas in this website),  I definitely need help — from those who understand the perspectives of classroom teachers more accurately & thoroughly, or are skilled story tellers or game developers, or have other kinds of useful experience and expertise — so that by working together with coordinated cooperation we can design curriculum-and-instruction that is a good match for how students like to learn (and are able to learn), and how teachers like to teach.  Here is a beginning for ideas about collaborating.     (you can contact me by e-mail – and on twitter I'm @DTprocess)

 


If necessary, you can put this page into the left frame`Why?    Or you can put this page into its own full-width window

 

Stories of Students & their Communities, with

mutually interactive Psychologies & Sociologies:

I.O.U. – Later, probably starting in late-April 2022, to supplement my section about students with stories (re: student variety & activity variety) I'll find web-pages with stories written by others, then will summarize them here, and link to them so you can read the full story.  When it's useful for drama, I'll try to avoid “spoilers” that would reduce your real-time enjoying as you're reading the story and are gradually gathering information (about people and situations), are mentally “putting together” the sequence of what is happening.  I'll be looking for stories that illustrate the fascinating-and-important relationships between students & communities, re: the complex mutually co-influencing interactions that occur between whole-persons & whole-communities, with each having “stories” that are psychological & sociological, with two-way interactions between the psychologies & sociologies of individuals & communities.    {maybe I'll add a few stories of my own, but the emphasis will be other authors who are more skilled at telling stories that are meaningful for education, for teachers, parents, students, and others}   —  stories of whole-person students and their whole-life situations & communities

 

Strategies for Instruction  —  WHY and HOW

WHY should we use "experience + reflection + principles" to help students improve their problem-solving skills?     { what are the benefits of supplementing inquiry-experiences with inquiry-principles? }

HOW can we design multi-model instruction that effectively combines the benefits offered by Design Process and by other models?

 

MORE — To get a more comprehensive overview, you can read Page-Summaries that include these ideas:

 

Problems and Objectives:   A problem is "any opportunity, in any area of life, to make things better,"* and  problem solving is "converting an actual current situation into a better future situation."   In a wide range of design fields that include engineering & sciences, humanities & arts, the objective is to design (to find, invent, or improve) a better product, activity, relationship, strategy, and/or explanatory theory.  These objectives include almost everything we do in life.     {* You can make things better when you either increase quality for any aspect of life, or maintain quality by minimizing a potential decrease of quality,  when you either promote a helpful change, or resist a harmful change. }

 

An Overview of Design Process describes — with a brief introduction to summarize its goals, then visually-and-verbally in five stages of a progression for learning — what it IS.*     {Simplicity & Symmetry in Design Process}

• But to avoid inaccurate stereotypes, it's also important to know what it ISN'T.  Design Process is not a step-by-step rigid method.  Instead it's a flexible framework that can help students master the typical thinking-and-actions used by experts when they solve problems.  Experts often use long-term planning, and always use short-term planning (for deciding “what to do next”) to coordinate their process of design.  Their short-term process is analogous to the flexible goal-directed improvising of a hockey player, but not the rigid choreography of a figure skater.  When we ask “Is there a method?”, why is the best answer No and Yes?     {long-term phases and short-term sequences}

 

We should think with empathy (what is it?) in projects and relationships.

Collaboration and Communication in a Productive Community

 

Success and Failure:  I have two goals for my Model(s) of Design Process.  I think one goal (for accurate description) has been achieved, but another (for effective education) has not, but I think it will be later.   Why do I think this?

teacher enjoying Design Thinking

Exploring Possibilities:  Should we creatively combine ideas from different models-for-process?

Objectives for Educational Design:  I want to work cooperatively with other educators to develop instruction for teaching Design Process (along with other models?) using teacher-guided classroom activities and/or computer-based interactive modules.  But, responding to an obvious question,...

 

WHY we should teach Design Process explains why — due to benefits arising from increased motivation, transfer, metacognition, organization, and design/science connections — "using Design Process might be very useful in education, so the possibilities are worth exploring and developing."

WHY — Experience plus Principles:  When we ask “why teach Design Process?” an important sub-question is whether a well-designed combination of experience plus principles (along with reflection) will be more educationally effective than experience by itself, to help students improve their skills in creative-and-critical productive thinking and their ability to combine thinking skills into a thinking process* that is more effective for solving problems.  I think we should answer YES.     {* A better understanding of process-principles can help students improve their use of conditional knowledge to coordinate their problem-solving process by making action-decisions in a way that is analogous to the flexible goal-directed improvising of a hockey player, but not the rigid choreography of a figure skater.}

WHAT — Teachers can provide their students with 4 Levels of Learning from Inquiry.  What usually happens?  Teachers often decide (for unfortunately rational reasons) to give students no experiences (or very few) with design-inquiry and science-inquiry.  Or, for reasons that are better (especially in the long term), students can get experiences;  or experiences + reflection;  or, as I think is best, experiences + reflection + principles.

HOW — While thinking about instruction, we can ask, “is experience + principles better than just experience?”  I think we should answer YES, and then ask “what model(s) of principles-for-process should we use?”,* and “how can we design goal-directed instruction that matches the ways teachers like to teach and students like to learn (and are able to learn)?”

 

HOW* We should search for effective ways to combine models, to pursue our goal of improving education for ideas-and-skills.  We should try to design curriculum & instruction that creatively combines long-term phases (used in all models-for-process, including Design Process) and short-term sequences (in Design Process)* to produce model-interactions that are synergistically supportive, that make a combination-of-models better than any model by itself.   /   Two key sequences show the Quality Checks & Reality Checks we use when Thinking for Design & Thinking for Science.

WHY — Typically, models-for-process are educationally useful in two ways, by offering structures (for instruction) and strategies (for thinking).  Each model has its own structure & strategies, so each offers its own distinctive benefits for students.  When we effectively combine the structures & strategies from two (or more) models, we combine their benefits.  We can design effective ways to combine structures, and combine strategies.

WHAT — One “strategy for combining” is showing how short-time sequences (in Design Process) occur within longer-time phases (in all models, including Design Process), to help students understand how their creative-and-critical productive thinking actually occurs in these short-time actions & sequences.   /   Two “ways to combine” are to use Design Process early-and-late (early with my simplest model and later for deeper understanding), or to use it after instruction begins with another model.   {descriptions of these two ways}

 

WHAT — More generally, Design Process (and other models) can be used in a wide-spiral curriculum because the wide scope of problem solving lets teachers use inquiry activities in all subject areas — in sciences, engineering, business, humanities, and arts, in an ideas-and-skills curriculum with wide scope — so in every area students can have analogous problem-solving experiences.  These experiences can be one part of a wide spiral curriculum that has wide scope (so related learning experiences are coordinated across different areas) and uses spiral repetitions (so learning experiences are coordinated over time).

 

HOW should we teach Design Process?  Teachers develop strategies for teaching (and coaching) that can include guiding students to help them use a process of inquiry to discover principles of inquiry.

 


 

Design Process — What is it?   For a quick overview of Design Process (it's my model for Problem-Solving Process), see-and-read Stage 1` in a 4-stage family of related models that has...
 

Simplicity and Symmetry

• a Simplicity of Process:  Diagram 1` shows — in its top & bottom parts, to Define & Solve — how you Define a Problem (Learn about Problem-Situation, Define your Objective, Define your Goals) and try to Solve this Problem by simply Generating-and-Evaluating Options (for a Problem-Solution) in iterative Cycles of Design.  This simplicity lets a teacher SHOW students how they use design thinking for almost everything they do in life.  This wide scope — and the simplicity of “generate and evaluate” when they solve problems — lets us build educational Transfer Bridges between life and school, with transfers (of knowledge & skills) and transitions (of attitudes) in both directions, to improve the problem-solving abilities & confidence & motivations of students, for better diversity & equity in educationDiagram 2a - showing Symmetry of Design Process Later, for deeper understanding, you can help students discover...

• a Symmetry of Process:  During their process of problem solving, students Design and Do two kinds of experience-producing Experiments (done mentally to make PREDICTIONS & physically to make OBSERVATIONS as shown on the left side & right side of the diagram) so they can Use their PREDICTIONS & OBSERVATIONS by comparing them with GOALS in evaluative QUALITY CHECKS, as you see in Diagram 2a.  In every Check-for-Quality they are asking (for the Option being evaluated) The Design Question:  “how close is the match between this Option's actual properties (that we have predicted or observed) and our desired Goal-properties?” which is asking “how high is the quality?” because Quality is defined by our Goals for a satisfactory problem-Solution.     /     When we show students this symmetry of Experimenting (done Mentally & Physically) it's an educationally useful visual organization of principles-for-process.     { We use 3 Elements (Predictions, Observations, Goals) in 3 Comparisons to ask Two Kinds of Questions:  The Design Question (in a Quality Check), and The Science Question (in a Reality Check, symbolized by the yellow-green dashed line, , between Predictions & Observations). }

an option:  If a diagram is too small to see the details clearly, in this page it will span the full screen.

As explained below, students can learn by discovery to develop a deeper understanding of these principles for Design Process, for the elegant beauty they can see in its simplicity and symmetry.

 

A Family of Related Models:   My model for Design Process can be represented in many ways;  you can see three of them in the introduction.  This allows educational flexibility, as in a progression of learning that begins with simplicity and gradually move into deeper understanding. {iou – The rest of this subsection will be revised later, maybe during April 2022.}  Basically, a process of design is simple;  you define a problem, and try to solve the problem by creatively generating ideas and critically evaluating these ideas in creative-and-critical Cycles of Design, as described in Stage 1.  But the process is full of interesting details that you can explore more deeply in later stages.  When teachers use this progression of learning, Design Process is not just a single model, instead it's...

   All 5 stages describe the same process of design, so Stage 1 = Stage 2a = Stage 2b = Stage 3 = Stage 4.  But each stage looks at this process from a different perspective and with a different level of detail.  These perspectives produce models-for-process that are different yet related, to help you progressively construct a deeper understanding of Design Process.*   /   And for another perspective:  These models for the overall process contain smaller modes of action (that can be mental and/or physical, to Define, Generate & Evaluate, and to Coordinate) that form a semi-model.  For education, both models and semi-models are useful.   /   And we can combine principles from Design Process and other models, to construct hybrid models-for-process.

 

By combining practice (in solving problems) with principles (for solving problems)* we can help students learn how to learn more from their experiences (mental & physical) so they can improve their performing (now) and their learning (for later).     {Students can learn principles of Design Process, plus mutually supportive principles from other models-for-process.

 

Experiences and Experiments

Learning from Experience:  A worthy goal for education is trying to help students learn how to learn more from their experiences so they can improve their performing-and-learning.

Experiences and Experiments:  In my broad definition,* an Experiment is any situation that produces Experience, that provides an opportunity to get Experimental Information by making Predictions (in an imagined Mental Experiment) or making Observations (in an actualized Physical Experiment),  so an Experiment is any Prediction-Situation or Observation-Situation,  so Experiments include almost everything people do, and are involved in almost everything we experience.  Your experiences include the first-hand experiences you remember, and also the second-hand experiences that you oberve, that you see, hear about, read about.

* Why are broad definitions useful for education?

 

4 Ways to USE Experiments  (i.e. to USE Experiences)

Design Process shows the central role of Experiments (Mental & Physical)* in problem solving, when you Design Experiments so you can...

    1.  USE an Experiment (Mental or Physical) to make Information (Predictions & Observations);
        {“run” the experiment-situation mentally (by imagining it) or physically (by actualizing it)}
    2.  USE this Experimental Information to do Evaluation of an Option (e.g. of an Action, or...);
    3.  USE this Experiment-Based Evaluation to guide Generation of another Option.
 

* Mental & Physical EXPERIMENTS produce Mental & Physical EXPERIENCES , as explained above.    { Information can be old and new, made by yourself & others }

 

When you move your mouse over the boxes added to this diagram — 1 2 3 3 — you can see four isolation diagrams that show only the problem-solving actions for Use #1 (make Information) and Use #2 (do Evaluation) and Uses #3 (guide Generation for Science-Design & General Design).     {or you can see a larger diagram, but without mouse-overs}

 

In addition to 1 2 3, you can...

4.  USE the Experiment-Based Evaluation (from #2 above) to guide Generation of more Information (in #1).  This action is analogous to #3, except instead of Generating new Options (in #3) you are now (in #4) Generating new Information.   How?  You get new Information from new Experiments.  First you ask “what additional Information (Predictions or Obervations) would be useful for Evaluation?” and then, in a question to stimulate ideas for Experimental Design, “what Experiments will produce this Information?” (in 1) that you can Use in 2 & 3.

 

INFORMATION can be old and new, made by yourself & others:  Your OBSERVATIONS can be "made when you observe what is happening in the present (new) or (old) remember what has happened in the past."  You also can use OBSERVATIONS-of-past or PREDICTIONS-for-future that are made by other people.  Thus, by combining "old and new" with "yourself & others," you can MAKE knowledge-information (OBSERVATIONS or PREDICTIONS) that is new,  and you can FIND knowledge-information that is old {is already existing} by REMEMBERING it in your personal memory or LOCATING it in our collective memory, in what is recorded {is culturally remembered} in books, web-pages, journals, audio & video recordings, etc.   Combining the two options for timing (old and new) plus sources (you & others), here are the four combinations, four ways to get Information:

   
made by
YOURSELF
made by
OTHER PEOPLE
 OLD (Remember  
 or Find)  
OBS or PRED
  in your memory  
OBS or PRED
  in cultural memory  
 NEW (Make)
OBS or PRED
in experiment
OBS or PRED
in experiment

 

And viewing things from another perspective, you can...

Learn More from Your Experiments/Experiences:  using Design Process can help you learn more from your experiences so you can improve your performing and/or learning (+ enjoying) in many areas of life.

 

 

Why are BROAD DEFINITIONS useful for Problem-Solving Education?

This website begins with broad definitions — of problem {as any opportunity to make things better} and problem solving {whenever you try to make things better, in any area of life} and education {it's learning from your experiences (in all areas of life, not just in school) so you can improve, so you can be more effective in making things better} — and continues with my broad defining of experiment {as any situation that produces experience, that lets you mentally make predictions or physically make observations, so an experiment is any prediction-situation or observation-situation, which includes almost everything in your own first-hand experiences and in the second-hand experiences of others}.

By using these BROAD DEFINITIONS (of problem & problem solving, education/experience & experiment) we can help students discover that their problem-solving experiences include almost everything they do in life.  This WIDE SCOPE lets us build two kinds of educational bridges — between life & school, and between subject areas in a wide-spiral curriculum — to improve transfers (of ideas-and-skills) and transitions (of attitudes).  By building-and-using these bridges, we can help a wider diversity of students (for better educational equity) by giving them a wider variety of experiences, and showing them how to learn more from their experiences, to improve their attitudes (confidence, motivations,...) and problem-solving skills in all areas of life.

 

Each of us is a learner, and (in some situations) a teacher.  Broadly defined, you are being a teacher whenever you help another person learn more from their life-experiences, whether or not you're doing this consciously, whether or not you're doing it as your profession.  And if you are a professional teacher, you'll have many opportunities to help others learn more.   {my goal for this website is to help you teach more effectively, so == iou [to be continued]}

 

more:  It's educationally useful to combine broad definitions with the simplicity of Design Process* so we can more effectively show students the WIDE SCOPE of problem-solving experiences.  Later, when we help them learn-and-use the symmetry of Design Process (with analogous Mental Experiences & Physical Experiences) we are helping them develop a deeper UNDERSTANDING of their problem-solving process, and this Understanding also (along with Wide Scope) promotes transfers of ideas-and-skills in school* and into everyday life.

 

EXTRAS  —  The main benefits of broad definitions are summarized above.  Other benefits & broad definitions are examined in other parts of the website: 

My broad definition of strategy (it's one kind of problem-solving objective, along with products, activities, relationships, and explanatory theories) includes all of the decisions (small & large, in personal and professional contexts) that you frequently make in everyday life.

* With a broad definition of design thinking, students frequently use a creative-and-critical process of design thinking — a Design-Thinking Process (a Design Process) that is Problem-Solving Process — whenever they DEFINE a Problem and try to SOLVE the Problem by creatively Generating Options (for a Problem-Solution) and critically Evaluating Options, in iterative Cycles of Design.

If we broadly define our goals (for the performing & learning & enjoying of students) this can stimulate creativity in our goal-directed designing of curriculum & instruction.

A broad definition of engineering (even wider than in the NGSS Standards) will help us integrate education for STEM & non-STEM in a wide-spiral curriculum that will encourage more students to broaden their perspectives so they become open to “careers in STEM” when they improve their self-image, reduce the self-limitations on their personal goals, and this will improve educational equity.

 


 

Learning by Discovery

Students can use inquiry Process to discover inquiry Principles.  How?  In a 4th Level of Learning-from-Inquiry (by combining Experience + Reflection + Principles into sequences of E+R+P)* a teacher can guide students to help them use a process-of-inquiry to DISCOVER principles-of-inquiry.

* A typical ERP-sequence (with E+R+P) begins with students getting Experiences by doing design, followed by Reflections-on-experience that help them discover Principles of Design Process, with a teacher sometimes guiding students while they experience and reflect/discover.

During the process of repeating ERP over & over, eventually — but not too early, because the process of learning principles should be “ideas first” followed later by naming & organizing — a teacher can use the structure of Design Process to guide the reflections and discoveries of students.  For example,...

    students (and teachers) can study any diagram – such as the four above – and reflect on their experiences with solving problems, asking “what part of my problem-solving process is in each part of the diagram?”
   * They (and you) can study this diagram while thinking about 3 Ways We Use Experiments (search the diagram to find "using" & "Use" & "use", 8 times) and how these 3 Ways (but it's actually 8 Ways) are connected in flexibly improvised sequences.  Also, a 4th Way to Use Experiments happens when they ask “what do we want to know?  what additional information would be useful for us?” so they can Get More Experiences by Designing More Experiments.
    Then they (and you) can click areas in this Diagram 3b` and learn more by reading my explanations of what's happening in each area.     {learning by discovery and with explanations}  
 

During their teacher-guided reflections & discussions, classroom (with Students & Teachers) actively doing Design Thinking instead of “discovering” a student is “recognizing” that during a process of design they are using skills they already know, because they already have used Design Thinking to do almost everything in their life.  When students discover (when they recall-and-recognize), they are just making their own experience-based prior knowledge — of how they have been solving problems — more explicit-and-organized within the logical framework of Design Process.     {learning by “discovery” is more effective for learning their own internal Process than for learning external Concepts}   {  Will improving their knowledge-of-process help them improve their skills in problem-solving Design Thinking?  Yes.  }

{note: here is another version of these ideas, and later I'll combine these two paragraphs}  In many ways this method of learning-by-inquiry is similar to “discovery learning” for CONCEPTS, when teachers give students experiences and promote reflections-on-experience by helping them ask “what did I (or we) do, and why?”  But compared with learning external Concepts, using this method-of-learning for their own internal PROCESS can be much more effective, because* a student is not “discovering” new actions, instead they are “recognizing” old actions, they are realizing that during a process of problem solving they are using actions-and-process they already know.  When teachers have constructed transfer-bridges from school into life, students will recognize that they already are using familiar problem-solving actions & process to do almost everything in their life.  Due to their prior experience, when we help them learn principles for process (as in Design Process) we are just directing their attention to their prior knowledge — of how they have been solving problems — and we're making this knowledge more explicit-and-organized within the logical framework of Design Process.     {improving knowledge-of-process can lead to improving skills-with-process}

 

Teachers also can Learn-by-Discovering:  Earlier I say "if you want to fully explore the diagram so you can ‘discover more’ on your own, do it now... before you read my descriptions of problem-solving process... maybe using these questions to stimulate your thinking."

3 Elements in 3 Comparison-Checksquestions to guide your exploring:  While you're studying the diagram, you may find it helpful to think about these questions:  How do you make PREDICTIONS about what will happen?  How many ways can you get OBSERVATIONS about what did happen (in the past) and is happening (in the present)?    /    Are you ever surprised by a REALITY CHECK?  if yes, why? (you can ask different levels of why-questions)   In what ways can you respond – by thinking about possible reasons for surprise (i.e. by examining all factors involved in this Reality Check) and adjusting – so you can get a better match between your PREDICTIONS and OBSERVATIONS?    /    What are the similarities & differences between the two kinds of QUALITY CHECKS?  In the context of trying to Solve a Problem, what are your GOALS?  How does a QUALITY CHECK help you determine quality? (and what defines quality?)    /    When you compare Science-Design with General Design, in what ways are the objectives (i.e. how you're trying to make things better) similar and different?   why are different comparisons used in each kind of problem-solving design?    {there is parallel symmetry between the ways we use Experience-Information that we get from imagined Mental Experiments and actualized Physical Experiments }

interactions:  In your creative-and-critical cycles of ...Generate-Evaluate-Generate-Evaluate-Generate-... how can your critical Evaluation stimulate-and-guide your creative Generation of a new Option (often made by revising an old Option) that you think might be a better match with your GOALS for a Solution, in a QUALITY CHECK?    {or might produce a better matching between PREDICTIONS & OBSERVATIONS in a REALITY CHECK.}

questions you can generate:  What else can you ask, and what other things can you wonder about (re: your process of problem solving) when you reflect on your personal experiences plus the verbal-and-visual information in this section?

Your studying of this diagram can help you develop a better understanding of problem-solving process.  And below, two results of my studying (in Methods 1 & 2) explain how Evaluation stimulates-and-guides Generation.

 

3 Elements in 3 Comparison-ChecksMethod 1 – my BASIC descriptions of this model:  When you're doing creative-and-critical cycles of Generate-Evaluate-Generate-Evaluate-... (these cycles are the focus of my simplest model) an effective way to Evaluate is to use evaluative comparisons.  How?  This diagram shows how 3 Elements are used in 3 Comparisons.  During a problem-solving process of General Design, usually you critically Evaluate an Option (for a Problem-Solution) by comparing your Goals (for the properties you want in a satisfactory Problem-Solution) with two kinds of Information about this Option — your PREDICTIONS (made when you imagine what will happen in the future) or your OBSERVATIONS (made when you observe what is happening in the present or you remember what has happened in the past) — in two kinds of Comparative Evaluations, in a Predictions-Based QUALITY CHECK or Observations-Based QUALITY CHECK.

Your evaluation of this option will help you decide whether to reject it or to accept it as-is;  or you can modify it by asking “in what ways do this option's properties (predicted or observed) differ from the desired properties that I have defined as Goals?” and then “how can I creatively modify This Option so its properties will more closely match the desired properties of my Goals?”  In this way, feedback from your critical Evaluation of This Option stimulates-and-guides your creative Generation of a New Option during your next Design Cycle in your critical-and-creative process of ...-Evaluate-and-Generate-... using interactive Cycles of Design.

In a similar way, during Science-Design the feedback from your critical Evaluation (in a Reality Check for an Explanatory Theory about “how the world works” for this aspect of Reality) can lead you to think this Theory should be revised.  Why?  If you are “surprised” because the PREDICTIONS (based on a Theory) and OBSERVATIONS (of Reality) don't match well, even though you think each kind of Information is reliable.  As in General Design, then you ask “how can I creatively-and-wisely modify This Theory so its PREDICTIONS will more closely match OBSERVATIONS of Reality?”     {or... instead of focusing only on the Theory, you can question ALL factors involved in the Reality Check – the Predictions & Observations, and their logical comparison – and for each of these, ask “what could cause errors that produced the not-close-enough matching?”}   {more about Reality Checks}

 

Guided Generation:   During both kinds of problem solving — for General Design or Science-Design, when you're trying to find a better Option (that could be a better Theory) — critical Evaluative Thinking stimulates-and-guides creative Generative Thinking, in critical-and-creative Guided Generation when you modify an Old Option to make a New Option.  This often is an effective way to creatively generate new ideas, but it isn't the only way.  For example, instead of trying to modify an Old Idea so it becomes a similar New Idea that's only slightly modified, you may want to try generating a “newer” New Idea;  you can do this by trying to reduce restrictions on your thinking – by not assuming “the way things have been” is “the way things must be” – to allow a freely creative Generation of New Ideas.    {e.g. for a way of not-assuming that is personally useful, you can develop & use a growth mindset.}

When you effectively combine creative thinking and critical thinking with relevant knowledge, the result is productive thinking.  During a process of problem solving, generative creative thinking and evaluative critical thinking can interact in mutually supportive ways, in creative-and-critical Guided Generation and in other ways.    {productive thinking}

 

Method 2 – my DETAILED descriptions of this model:  The ideas above (in Method 1) are explained with more depth in “specialty sections” you'll find by clicking on any of the 23 link-areas in a Clicker Map (made from a supplemented version of this diagram) that will open in a new pair of left-and-right pages when you click this link`.

 


 

TERMS – in my Model for Problem-Solving Process

note:  This is an earlier version of the section about my Model that includes the concepts of "sub" and "total" in sub-models forming a total-Model.  Maybe (but probably not) I'll include these two terms in later descriptions of models & Models.

Here is an explanation of terms:  my Model is a system of closely related models that are sub-models of the total-Model;  in this section, when I write model & Model (with & without capitalizing), these mean sub-model & total-Model, with model = sub-model, and Model = total-Model.   /   The Model is a family of models (i.e. the total-Model is a family of sub-models).  The models are closely-related versions of the same Model, but each model emphasizes (to focus attention on) different aspects of the Model.

a clarification:  Of course, instead of being “total” my “total Model-for-process” is a simplification of the actual “total process.”  Simplifying is a necessary part of making models, because the purpose of every model-for-process is to allow our human brains – with limited capabilities for memory & processing – to cope with the complexity of the total process, helping us “make sense of it” by constructing understandings that are simplified yet useful, that we can use to improve our problem-solving process (for self) and problem-solving education (for others).

* Why only "in this section"?  Until late 2021, I hadn't defined these m-and-M terms, so they aren't used consistently in the website because most parts of it were developed earlier, and haven't yet been revised.  But you know the terms, so you can think consistently when you see "model".

 


 

Motivation – Learning from Partially-Successful Experiences: 

I.O.U. – Currently (in April 2022) this section is being developed.  I've already written a lot about this fascinating-and-important topic, so temporarily I'll just link to these places and quote some ideas, before eventually making an overview-summary here.  Some places-with-ideas are...

 

Moving Beyond Simple Motivation asks “What should we do if a student is motivated, but doesn't feel confident about their ability to succeed?”  We can help students develop accuracy (in self-perception) plus optimism (about their potential for improvement and growth) with a “not yet” attitude toward failure so they can learn from all of their experiences and “do it better” in their future.   /   This optimism is easier if students have a growth mindset based on an incremental theory of intelligence — believing that their intelligence (and intellectual performance) can be improved, can “grow” through their efforts — because an "incremental" view-of-self promotes a confident belief that their efforts to self-improve will be rewarded.    { iou - later there also will be a paragraph about students being motivated by short-term pleasures and long-term satisfactions}

 

Learning from ALL Experience (from failure and success):  You can learn from ALL experience, whether you view the result as a failure or success, or (more likely) some of each. [i.e. in most areas there is a continuum-range from total failure to total success]  A feeling that “I could have done better, and I want to do better” can motivate you to reflect on what happened (the situation, your actions, the results) so you will learn more from the experience.  You can say, along with Maya Angelou, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."  And a feeling that “I did it well” can inspire you to eagerly look for more problems to solve, in school and life.

 

Learning from Partial Success:  We are educated when we learn from life-experiences.  We can learn from ALL experience, from both failure and success.  Below you'll find examples from my experiences (first-hand & second-hand, personal & vicarious) with solving, improvising, driving, juggling, skiing, backhanding, pronouncing, and welding.   /   iou - Later, I'll “say a little” about each paragraph (re: solving, improvising,... welding) and there will be more old ideas (about motivated reasoning & changing-of-views) plus a few new ideas.

improvising music -- My page about Music Improvisation encouraging you to "Experiment... just Relax and Learn:  You may feel more free to creatively explore different ways of making your own music if you experiment in low-risk situations — when nobody (not you or anyone else) cares about the quality or klunkers — and listen carefully for feedback, to discover what does and doesn't work well, to gain valuable experience.  Instead of worrying about the possibility of mistakes, just relax-and-do, listen and learn."

driving a car -- distinguish between situations when a mistake won't matter much (so take risks, relax, enjoy, learn) and when a mistake would be costly (so avoid a mistake);  but you can mentally practice (with mental rehearsal) to prepare for dangerous situations, so IF one of them happens, you'll be prepared to respond correctly;  and to improve some skills, you can physically practice in low-risk situations; 

 


 

If you want to understand the website more thoroughly, two exploration strategies are to click links in this page, and read Page-Summaries.     {and a Super Table-of-Contents has many more links}

 


Control of iFrames:  A link at the top-right corner of each page lets you put it into the left frame or into the right frame if it isn't already there.*   Why is this useful?   Because when a page is on its proper side, the page remains visible while you explore its links, which open in the other frame;  this lets you click links without “losing your place” in the current page.   And because you can see both pages at the same time, you can more easily combine (in your thinking) what both pages are saying about related aspects of a topic;  seeing both pages is always useful, but is especially valuable for mentally combining visual & verbal information, as in the Overview of Design Process`.

* Or use the first link in every page (or occasional links later in the page) that look like this` with an extra ` at the end, as in the link above, for "Overview of...".


 

Who are we?   In this website, "we" refers to other educators:  teachers, curriculum designers, researchers, policy deciders, and parents.

Audiences for the Website:   This website is designed for educators.  {parts of it may also be useful for students, but “as-is now” most of it won't be useful for using as-is by students, instead the ideas must be adapted by a teacher}   I do want to design instruction-applications that will be useful for students (and their teachers), but to do this I will need to collaborate with other educators.

iou – later, in mid-April, I'll revise these two paragraphs, about...

my current “main audience” for this homepage:  Soon (maybe starting in early-May 2022) I'll be contacting educators in Ohio – especially in the metro-area of Columbus (population 2 million) – hoping to find people (classroom teachers, curriculum developers for a school or district, other leaders) who want to "develop our ideas (yours and mine) for how to help students improve their effective uses of problem-solving process in all areas of life... with creative collaborations that combine our understandings and skills, so together we can pursue shared goals."

feedback:  If you have suggestions for improving this homepage – especially its long introduction (thru the colorful diagrams, down to the gray box about "Exploring the Website") – please be honest in telling me what you think about its content & style, viewing it as an educator & reader.

 
 

A Website for Efficient Learning

My website (including this homepage) is large, with lots of ideas.

But I'm aiming for a high ratio of ideas/words, to help busy people like you (with lots to do and not enough time to do it) learn efficiently with a high ratio of learning/time.

I want to help you learn a lot quickly, so I'm trying to explain ideas quickly (yet clearly and thoroughly), especially in the comprehensive Executive Summary.  And to minimize duplication I've written many small pages;  each page-summary explains a cluster of related ideas, and links to other page-summaries (with related ideas) that you can choose to explore or ignore.  This structure makes it easier for you to learn as much as you want — in 1 minute, 10 minutes, 100 minutes, or more, in whatever time you want to invest, now and later — about the combination-of-ideas you choose.

 


 

I.O.U. - Please ignore what's in this gray box until later, when (maybe in late 2021) these “rough notes for myself” will be used to write a section for an earlier part of this page.

 

stdp2 [enginrg] // short-term strategy-actions in DP, longer phases in other modelsmcpaldef cmgo

broad definitions are especially useful for promoting transfers of learning.

understanding [quote] -- ws#trorg

 

{* a teacher can use personally-customized guiding to adjust the difficulty level for different students}  

 

EXTRAS:

coordination -- argmtn [where?]

transition -- The educational usefulness of broad definitions is emphasized throughout this website, because broad definitions

detailed @ NGSS -- st-te.htm#map -- in the context of Next Generation Science Standards, NGSS. -- observation & prediction & experiments

EXPERIMENT -- We can stimulate the creative thinking of students — by letting them reduce restrictive assumptions about what an "experiment" is, thus encouraging them to explore this wide variety of Options for Experimental Systems — by using a simple, broad, minimally restrictive definition:

 

use earlier, for 123-4 --> MORE ---- with clear, less condensed (i.e. using more words, thus requiring less “discovery” by a reader) descriptions of 4 Ways to Use Experiments (or is it 8 ways?)* in flexibly improvised short-term Functional Sequences – and how critical Evaluation of Ideas stimulates-and-guides creative Generation of Ideas in Design Cycles & Science Cycles.

 

photos:  Soon, I want to put more pictures (of students & teachers) into this website to further “humanize” it, because Design Thinking — and education for Design Thinking — is about people with stories.     { The current photos are from DEEPdt - DEEP design thinking: a human-centered approach to learning, creating, & being through Empathy. }

 

Link for Verbal-and-Visual Overview

 

 

 
Extras:  Tips for Using This Website plus information about
the website and me (Craig Rusbult) and my Ideas for Education.

 

If you want to discuss any of these ideas,
you can contact me, <crusbult@wisc.edu> ;
Craig Rusbult, Ph.D. - my life on a road less traveled

 

URLs for the two pages in this left/right frameset are:
left side - https://educationforproblemsolving.net/design-thinking/home.htm
right side - https://educationforproblemsolving.net/design-thinking/ws.htm
frameset - https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/crusbult/web/design/index.htm

 

Copyright © 1978-2019 by Craig Rusbult.  All Rights Reserved.