Problem Based Strategic Thinking Concepts

The Strategic Thinking workshop equips today’s young people with both the vision and skills needed to anticipate, comprehend and solve the problems of today and to build better tomorrows.

Why did we design this course?

This course came about as a result wanting to create a programme that helps students to learn critical and creative thinking, problem solving and decision making.

We wanted a ‘real-world solution’, one that students might be able to benefit when they reach tertiary education or when they are working. Using my experience when I was working in the ministries as well as my partner’s experience as a consultant, we developed a programme that merged Problem-based Learning and scenario planning into what we call the Problem Based Strategic Thinking Concepts programme.

The goals of this programme is

  •  enhance the development of student leadership skills. At the same time, the programme is designed to improve the cognitive level of its participants through scaffolded but rigorous activities.
  • think more strategically by becoming involved in activities to increase the flexibility, fluency, originality and elaboration of their thinking;
  • develop research skills needed for the collection of data;
  • relate effectively with others as members of a small, cohesive team; and
  • improve oral and written communication skills for the better understanding of their ideas by others.

Cognitive Rigour

One feature that we always have in our programmes is the development of cognitive rigour. We believe that it is really important for our students to be challenged and stretched because that really engages and develops them. Our programme has a six step problem solving model that progressively challenges the student as it gives the them increasing complex tasks.

The six steps and cognitive rigour is summarised in the table below:

Progression Graph

1. Identify Challenges

Understand 2: Understand and explain concepts and challenges.

2. Select an Underlying Problem

Analyse 2: Deconstruct and select relevant problem.

3. Produce Solution Ideas

Create 2: Generate hypothesis based on prior knowledge.

4. Generate and Select Criteria

Analyse 3: Analyse and use understanding of information to create criteria.

5. Apply Criteria to Solution Ideas

Evaluate 3: Compare and contrast solutions and justify choice.

6. Develop an Action Plan

Create 3: Synthesis information and develop alternate solutions.