Bagby & Sulak (2009) investigated the importance of integrating strategies to promote problem solving skills in education scenarios today through the evaluation of the Montessori learning model. Today, students not only should master the knowledge provided by the traditional curriculum, but should also learn how to solve problems and transfer the solutions to new situations. In short, memorization and concept learning are not enough to develop the necessary skills to be functional in society. The need for a deeper knowledge of skills and the ability to apply this knowledge in real life situations is a must in educational scenarios today.
Problem solving skills become the higher thinking element that students need today in order to become functional members of society. For example, there are many jobs today that will not exist in the immediate future, which makes it necessary for students to learn a body of knowledge that involves the ability to solve problems which they may encounter in the workplace and in life. Students must learn to be able to function in unexpected situations non dependent from mechanical operation, but rather be able to apply of critical and creative thinking skills to deal with unpredictable situations. This requires that the teaching and learning process moves away from rote learning and moves closer to a depth of understanding in order to judge, evaluate and make decisions about presented issues. Similarly, the teaching and learning process must be oriented towards the transfer of these problem solving skills in new situations due to the unexpected nature of situations in the present. Some of the strategies mentioned in the study are the importance of providing students with meaningful and real life experiences leaving space for discovery learning.
I believe this study is of outmost importance for educators and instructional designers today. The way we view education and its importance, is the way we will impart it. I encourage you to read the study and internalize this knowledge into your instructional practices.
Bagby, J & Sulak, T. (2009). Strategies for promoting problem solving skills and transfer: A qualitative study. Montessori Life (4), 38-42.