Critical Thinking & Problem Solving Training

Critical Thinking Training & Problem Solving Training

Savvan Learning Solutions customized training courses help companies enhance the critical thinking and problem solving skills of leaders, managers and staff.

Critical Thinking Training

Critical thinking is both the study of clear and unclear thinking. The National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking defines critical thinking as the: 

intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

The purpose of critical thinking training is to provide skills that help employees, managers and leaders alike to consistently apply the principles of critical thinking to their daily tasks, process and even innovation.

Problem Solving Training

Problem solving is as old as the human race.  The process generally consists of using a variety of learned and intuitive methods, in an orderly manner, to find solutions to problems. As old of a skill that it might be, it still is one of the areas that needs constant upkeep to sharpen the skill.

The term problem-solving is used in many disciplines, sometimes with different perspectives, and often with different terminologies. For instance, problem solving is a mental process in psychology and a computerized process in computer science. Problems can also be classified ill-defined or well-defined.  Ill-defined problems are those that do not have clear goals, solution paths, or expected solution. Well-defined problems have specific goals, clearly defined solution paths, and clear expected solutions. The ability to understand what the goal of the problem is and what rules could be applied represent the key to solving the problem is one method. Sometimes the problem requires some abstract thinking and coming up with a creative solution.

The following techniques or strategies can be taught in problem solving training and are useful in many diverse situations. They include:

    • Abstraction: solving the problem in a model of the system before applying it to the real system
    • Analogy: using a solution that solves an analogous problem
      • Brainstorming: (especially among groups of people) suggesting a large number of solutions or ideas and combining and developing them until an optimum solution is found
      • Divide and conquer: breaking down a large, complex problem into smaller, solvable problems
      • Hypothesis testing: assuming a possible explanation to the problem and trying to prove (or, in some contexts, disprove) the assumption
      • Lateral thinking: approaching solutions indirectly and creatively
      • Means-ends analysis: choosing an action at each step to move closer to the goal
      • Method of focal objects: synthesizing seemingly non-matching characteristics of different objects into something new
      • Morphological analysis: assessing the output and interactions of an entire system
      • Proof: try to prove that the problem cannot be solved. The point where the proof fails will be the starting point for solving it
      • Reduction: transforming the problem into another problem for which solutions exist
      • Research: employing existing ideas or adapting existing solutions to similar problems
      • Root cause analysis: identifying the cause of a problem
      • Trial-and-error: testing possible solutions until the right one is found

(Source: Wikipedia: Problem-Solving, Definition)

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