Efficient Problem solving does not have to be hard!
How many times did you listen to a riddle that you thought you probably should be able to figure but couldn’t, or you found yourself torn about how to deal with a specific problem in your life?

Learning about the methodology of solving problems sounds like a massive undertaking for most people, who just make by a combination of luck, a gut feeling and or influenced by outsiders?

Despite conventional wisdom, there’s rarely one unique way to solve problems or guide us through decisions that we need to make. Thinking in the abstract about an issue without method could or use the techniques outlined below to, if not solve, at least attempt solving the problem using some mental and methodological techniques from multiple worlds to help you from the insignificant to the mighty important.

Because, everything is learning!
By the end of this WebQuest you will be able to choose the techniques related to the relevant context that more closely resembles a solution for the problem you have produced.  

This WebQuest will equip you with specific skills so that you won’t get stuck in a certain way of thinking and to allow you to explore a multitude of different possibilities in solving issues at hand.   

This WebQuest is best worked in groups to up to 4 people but if an individual challenge is more to your liking each process will also try to tackle learning to solve a Rubik’s cube. Efficient Problem Solving will provide you with the practical skills that you can use to solve your own personal or business problems and to understand different psychological foundations related to each solution. By the end of this WebQuest, you will be able to start solving a problem of your own device using some of the techniques that you will study here.
This is a fun and relatively simple WebQuest that is structured in a multiple game framework. This is a chance for you to exercise your brains in a playful and interactive manner.
In the following link “What is problem-solving” you will find a good resource to get you started in a very basic framework of the 4 processes that problem-solving usually entails.
This WebQuest requires critical thinking in that not all problems are created equal or are solved in the same using just one technique. You and your team will need to think critically about which way fits what problem better.
1. Identifying and defining a problem
Understanding what the real problem is and which are symptoms of it. Being sick for example, is not the cause but a symptom of your body’s reaction to the virus. But being infected without a fever, is the cause for the spreading the disease to your family because you are allowed to kiss and talk to them freely.  
Please check how this website in how to start dealing with a Problem please watch the video here and read how to Identify and Structure Problems.
In this point of the WebQuest, each member of the group should write down a problem or decision that wants to test and flip it over. This should not take more than 5 minutes.
Now put the pens down and let’s start!

2.1 Technique the first - Achieving Expertise - Perseverance and Grit  
When dealing with a problem most people advice in solving it includes some combination of slowly and painfully learning and thinking about the problem until you finally learn through the knowledge and expertise gained. This is very logical and linear way of solving a problem by exposing each level of causality and finally training your brain until you become an expert. In order to achieve this state of expertise, you will need to be able to hold out and insist despite boredom of endless memorizations and mistakes. However, not all types of problems could or should be treated in the same framework. People can solve problems by spending hundreds and hundreds of hours practicing (most famous of the learning frameworks is Malcolm Gladwell’s 10 000 hours soundbite). The way learning works in our brain, is by making it easier and easier for information to travel from one neuron to another, in a way starting with a path and ending up with a highway. Please read this article about How the Brain Learns and watch the following video on How we Learn or on this video about the chemistry of the Brain.
A good example of this type of problem is the, mathematically rooted, Rubik’s cube. 

A chaotic problem
The Rubik’s cube is a famous cubed game where its 6 different colored sides are divided in 3x3x3 squares that pivot. The objective is to mess the colors and then match each side of the cube to a single color as in the start. From the outside it looks completely impossible. You can find a short history of the Rubik cube here.
However, through a learned process including steps understanding how it is created, what kind of moves exist, and given formulas it is absolutely possible to learn how to solve it. The more you practice the more efficiently and fast you can apply the techniques, even though maybe not as fast as Feliks Zemdegs.
Rubik’s cube familiarization will be at least a 7week long process to learn fundamental movements. If you do want to challenge your brain check this video that gives out a solution So basic that a three year old can understand it!

2.2. Technique the second - Prototype – Test – Prototype – Test – Prototype – Test – Proto…or   Deep Thinking? (Chaos vs Linearity)
The Game
What you will need
The challenge is time-bound and must be finished within 20 minutes exactly. Get in groups of 4. Each team gets a table, 25 pieces of uncooked spaghetti, one meter of masking or paper tape and a single marshmallow. The objective of the game is to build the longest free standing structure possible (measured from the table up) that will support the marshmallow on the top.
Form your teams. Start the game!
Measure the results
Which team managed the highest structure?
Peter Skillman, who had the awesome title General Director of Smart Things in Microsoft came up with this amazing test that explores different approaches to problem-solving and came up with some astonishing results.
Watch the TED videos below how you compare your experience to the general results of the experiment. Videos for Marshmallow Challenge by Peter Skillet or a more modern iteration of the same talk by Tom Wujec.

2.3. Technique the third - Thinking outside (literal) boxes  
Problem-solving is all about seeing things differently. People are usually focused on their immediate understanding of a problem and their mind directly finds the usual pathways to solve it; you either know how to get to the answer or you don’t. It’s like a link in a chain. If one of those causal links is broken or cannot be accessed, the rest of the chain is out of reach.

2.3.1. The 9 dot problem 
Use 4 or less continuous straight lines to run through all the dots below without passing the same line at the same time.
You can either use a pen and paper or you can play it online here or here. Give yourself 10 minutes. 

2.3.2 The candle problem
In the candle problem, you will be given some thumb tags, a candle and a box of matches. The goal is to attach the candle to a wall in such a way so that we will be able to light it without burning the wall. Unfortunately, this problem does not exist as an online game so you will have to do it in the old fashioned way. All you need is a candle, some pins, and a matchbox. Give yourself 10 minutes

If you liked that mental challenge you can try training your brain with equally frustratingly engaging problems in the icreate project or the problems site.
The 9 dot problem is a great illustration into how assumptions of rules become a self-limitation in being able to see the potential for a solution. Check this psychology today article to learn how this game of problem-solving hides psychological lessons when dealing with our fixed understanding and how we become trapped in it.
Please read the explanation for the Candle problem in this Curiosity article explaining the psychology behind most people’s inability to solve it.
Both problems are examples of re-phrasing.

Measure the Results
So how did you do?
Did you succeed? If yes, what was your process, did you test many different approaches or did you try to think one step at a time and persevered until you managed?
If you didn’t go to the next point and technique the fourth.

2.4 Technique the fourth - Collective Problem Solving
Re-phrasing the issue or having alternatives is a technique that works when trying to deal with the problem individually Problem solving in a social setting like a classroom or a business is harder by many degrees of magnitudes. The issue of perception, and complex relations that make organizations work like collaboration, conflict, ambitions, ego, and knowledge makes understanding it, a nightmare for one person. However, ironically, the ways to solve problems like these, are to use the power of people to see things differently and to collectively uncover issues.
Use the combined analysing power of teams to come up with fresh views on how to solve problems in an organizational setting. Try by using collaborative visualization or How you make toast technique. This technique is better used to solve large scale problems and in essence needs the participants to write in post-it notes how they perceive how the organization works on the process.
Use post-it notes and a white wall and help (if possible the whole classroom) to write or sketch how they perceive the working process of your class. By describing the process, you will necessarily create Nodes (the Processes) and Links (the causal relation). 
For a step-by-step guide, use Tom Wujec’s Draw Toast

3. Application!
After being exposed to the learning techniques, you need to now flip your original problems and decide amongst you which technique you think its best suited to solve each one and why. Please use the remaining time to try to come up with a proposal for every single problem before you!
Evaluation and Learning Outcomes
On the completion of this WebQuest, the learner will be able to:

Knowledge Skills Attitudes
· basic  knowledge in  identifying problem-solving and its basic steps defining it
· experiential understanding of the concept of reframing
· basic knowledge of collective problem solving
· fundamental understanding of the drawing toast technique for identifying and solving collective problems
· basic skill to open new links from text and shift through browser tabs
· knowledge about using interactive riddles to train the mind on reframing
· skill as team moderator in collective problem-solving skills  
· experiential skill on creating a process and causal map using post-it-notes to identify the hidden operation structure  of organizations and exposing problems
· demonstrate ability to follow
a process
· experience the breaking down
of easy mental processes and consciously allow the reframing technique to expand perspectives
and possible solutions
· allow the collective knowledge to expose different perspectives from your own into how things work and provide fresh images to enrich your preconceived understanding of a process
In this WebQuest you were provided with techniques related to solving personal problems by reframing them or, in simple terms, using alternative views to expand the perception and constraints of the problem at hand. Additionally, you were provided information about how asking simple questions in organizations can uncover problems, neglected areas and interventions that will help organizations uncover important details of the processes that may elude professional problem solvers and managers.