chapter  15
16 Pages

Defining the Problem: Problem Schemas

The goals of learning to solve problems include not only finding an acceptable solution to any problem but also being able to recognize similar problems at a later date in order to reduce the amount of mental effort required to solve a transfer problem at that time. That is, an important goal for students is to learn what kind of problem they are solving. In order to do that, they must construct a problem schema for each kind of problem being solved. Note that constructing problem schemas is difficult, but it is much easier for well-structured problems, for which there are known problem types. For ill-structured problems, it may not be possible to identify specific problem schemas; however, as Chapter 12 describes, people are reminded of problems when required to solve new ones. What enables them to remember previous problems is the problem schema that they constructed based on their experience.