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Problem Solving skills help adults think critically and creatively to navigate different challenges or conflicts, including those arising in personal, career, or academic settings. Solving these problems involves setting goals and using relevant Background Knowledge, resources, and skills to generate meaningful solutions.
There are multiple aspects of Problem Solving that aid adults across a variety of situations, including:
The development of technology (e.g., the Internet, social media) and greater information available digitally has brought about a need for New Literacies, which include understanding of multimodal texts. These literacies have become necessary for modern societal participation and require information literacy, that is, the ability to discern fact from fiction across a variety of sources.
When annotating, learners engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading, which supports Foundational Reading Skills.
Experts can answer questions and provide vocabulary, processes, feedback, and scaffolds to help learners deepen their understanding.
When adults can connect and communicate with authentic audiences about their interests and values, learning becomes more personally meaningful and relevant.
Case studies support authentic, active learning experiences centered around real world situations that present an account of a particular set of circumstances for learners to engage with.
When designing instruction for adults, expectations and goals should be clearly outlined to help learners focus on the material and make plans for success.
Adult learners can self-organize into groups called communities of practice to engage in longer-term examination of a topic to build deeper understanding.
Competency-based learning is self-paced, focused on mastery, and centered around demonstrating learning outcomes and skills rather than where or how they were attained.
When learners process and express information visually, they are activating more cognitive processes while Problem Solving.
Understanding adults' lived experiences and cultural backgrounds and connecting them to instructional practices helps all learners feel like valued members of the community.
When preparing for and executing a debate, learners analyze, form, and express verbal arguments, fostering their critical thinking skills, an essential component of Problem Solving.
Analyzing errors is especially beneficial in helping learners develop a Learner Mindset and critical thinking skills, which are a component of Problem Solving.
Teaching adult learners how to systematically evaluate sources prepares them to navigate information in an increasingly complex, digital world.
Networking and supporting adult learners in expanding their social networks provide access to additional resources and Social Supports, which can impact their trajectory and Motivation.
Experiential learning is learning by doing, which may include self-directed learning activities.
Giving learners the opportunity to explain their thinking process aloud helps them to solidify their comprehension, and move knowledge into their Long-term Memory.
Teaching learners how to effectively search the internet is critical for helping them learn how to find accurate and relevant information and aids in developing information literacy.
Formative assessment is "assessment for learning" rather than "assessment of learning".
When adults are aware that learning involves effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement of strategies, they are more resilient when they struggle.
Game-based learning is an active learning experience with clear objectives and measurable outcomes designed to be intrinsically game-like.
Setting overall goals with actionable steps for achievement can help learners feel more confident in their abilities and help minimize procrastination-related behaviors.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps learners construct meaning and strengthens their recall.
Immediate feedback can improve a learner's confidence, self-awareness and enthusiasm for learning, which leads to increased Motivation.
Inquiry-based learning is centered around open-ended questions posed by instructors and/or the learners themselves and fosters a Learner Mindset.
Journaling allows learners to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know and their practical experiences.
Giving learners the opportunity to share their knowledge, skills, and understanding with others strengthens learning and increases Motivation while also building Social Supports.
Metaphors and analogies can support learners by helping to form connections and to notice patterns and similarities that promote learning, self-concept, and higher order thinking.
Mindfulness is a practice to create internal balance and a sense of being present in the moment.
Creating patterns through mnemonic devices, such as acronyms, categorizing items, visual images, or rhyming, supports the development of memories, including learned content knowledge.
For adults, the Composition process can become more robust when learners can express ideas through multiple media, which includes visual, audio, and digital production.
Instruction and training presented in multiple formats allows learners to activate different cognitive skills and Background Knowledge that are necessary to remember procedural and content information.
Effective note-taking during lectures or reading directs learners' Attention to the relevant information, helping them identify key concepts, understand links between ideas and retain information better in their Long-term Memory.
The opportunity to observe peers or experts in action or participate in shadowing can provide a unique and authentic learning experience that often involves questioning, metacognitive thinking, and Problem Solving while providing Social Supports.
Learning in social contexts has been shown to have significant effects on comprehension of material and retention of new information into Long-term Memory.
When learners provide constructive feedback on each other's work, they reflect on their own understanding, learn to give relevant suggestions, receive specific ways to improve, and engage in Metacognition.
Perspective seeking is different from perspective taking as it involves communication with the purpose of gaining insight into the nuances of alternate views.
Making space and time for physical activity, through brief movement breaks in the classroom or workplace and incorporating it into daily life, has benefits for the body and mind.
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a learner-centered multidisciplinary approach focused on real world applications using active learning methods.
Reflection can take place throughout learning, supporting critical thinking and Problem Solving skills when learners actively question assumptions, and after learning experiences to support Metacognition.
When instructors are able to provide context, and connect math concepts to an adult learner's world, math can be seen as relevant and applicable to their daily lives and work- a core aspect of adult Numeracy.
When adults monitor their comprehension, performance, and use of strategies when learning they become more invested in their work, build their Metacognition, and actively participate in the process.
Simulations and immersive virtual environments provide authentic learning at a level that can spark curiosity and deeper understanding by engaging multiple senses in exploration.
Analyzing short video clips, replays of important aspects, and videos of oneself applying what has been learned can improve Metacognition and Long-term Memory while fostering a Learner Mindset.
Analyzing and discussing solutions to problems helps students develop a deeper understanding of Problem Solving processes and Numeracy skills.
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