Problem Solving Strategies

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  • 8
  • 9
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  • 1,507
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  • 3
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  • 0.3

Course Description

I have a problem: I want it to go away.

I have a problem: I want the easiest, quickest, cheapest solution possible.

I/we have a problem, but I/we can't solve it because of money, people and personalities, powerful external forces . . .

Our problems are too big: there is no way to solve them.

Most people have said such things to themselves at some point. Problems come in many sizes and degrees of complexity, but they are unavoidable in life. Problem solving and decision making around solutions are essential skills. 

The good news is that many academics, business consultants, and leaders in all fields have explored these areas and have developed effective models and strategies that work. In Sections I-VII, this course will provide tools for effective and meaningful problem solving.   In Sections VIII and IX, we will cover decision making processes.

Defining the Problem

It is essential to thoroughly define a problem before trying to solve it. Because it is such an important topic, this course presents three proven approaches to problem definition.

Putting the Problem into Its Context

After defining the problem, it is necessary to place the problem in context.What is the locus of the problem? Is it fundamentally a personal, group, or organizational (including business, corporate, educational, government, religious, and non-profit) problem? 

Along with placing the problem in a structural context is the issue of the essential nature of the problem. Is it best viewed as personal, social, economic, political, environmental, spiritual, or some other kind of problem?  

The recent mortgage foreclosure crisis is a good example of where these two notions of context interacted. For a couple about to lose their home, their problem was clearly a complex of personal, business, corporate, and governmental factors combined with personal, social, economic, and political implications. Such a complicated problem is challenging to solve, which is one reason that the problems of the mortgage crisis are still ongoing, years after the crisis began. 

Developing a solution to such a complex problem would require considering the problem as multiple kinds of problems, each with a different context. At the personal level, the owners would need to consider their jobs, savings, assets, credit rating, and so on. According to one of our models, what is the borrowers' current reality, versus the ideal?  

The homeowners would also need to consider the situation with regard to their lender. Was their lender, for example, involved in a merger or acquisition and how did that affect the lender's policies and willingness to extend credit? What is the lender's current reality, versus the ideal?

Who Is Involved in the Problem: Stakeholders

Finally, in defining the problem, there is the issue of stakeholders. Who is involved? Who is affected by the problem? Who may be blocking a solution? Who controls the resources necessary for solving the problem? Identifying the stakeholders is essential to defining any problem before trying to solve it. Among those connected to the problem, whose input is useful and/or important? Who will be involved in the problem-solving process? Who will be making the decisions necessary to solving the problem? Who may be blocking a solution and what is their motivation for doing so?

This is, obviously, where the problem-solving process morphs from individual analysis and ideas to group dynamics, corporate culture, political alliances, etc. This leads to more complications, but also to more opportunities for changes that need to happen.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
  • Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

    Course Lessons

    Average Lesson Rating:
    4.5 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
    "Extraordinarily Helpful"
    (1,004 votes)

    Lesson 1: Problem Solving: The Fundamentals

    It is essential to thoroughly define a problem before trying to solve it. Because it is such an important topic, this course presents three proven approaches to problem definition. 11 Total Points
    • Lesson 1 Video
    • Review 2 Articles: Are You Solving the Right Problem?; How to Improve Problem Solving Skills
    • Take Survey: Reasons for Taking this Course
    • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
    • Complete: Lesson 1 Exam

    Lesson 2: Research/Gathering Data

    Every model of problem solving emphasizes the importance of information. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 2 Video
    • Review 2 Articles: How Technology Can Help Solve Problems and Make Decisions; Business Scenarios and Business Goals
    • Complete: Lesson 2 Exam

    Lesson 3: Problem Solving: Determining and Building Your Strengths

    Very often, problem solving works best when it is a team effort, where different individuals are stronger in one kind of intelligence and can, therefore, contribute different perspectives when defining and solving the problem at hand. 0 Total Points
    • Lesson 3 Video

    Lesson 4: Problem Solving: Determining and Building Resources

    An experienced consultant obviously adds value to a problem-solving effort in a new or start-up enterprise. 8 Total Points
    • Lesson 4 Video
    • Review Article: Troubleshooters.Com and Steve Litt's HR Tips Present Problem Solving
    • Complete: Lesson 4 Exam

    Lesson 5: Problem Solving: Digging Deeper

    New data, or more comprehensive data, that has not been considered before -- that makes it worth revisiting that part of the process. 9 Total Points
    • Lesson 5 Video
    • Complete: Lesson 5 Exam

    Lesson 6: Solving Problems: Process, Tools, and Techniques

    Tools and techniques for problem solving include brainstorming, mindstorming using automatic writing, and reverse brainstorming using intelligent memory strategy. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 6 Video
    • Complete: Lesson 6 Exam

    Lesson 7: Decision Making: The Fundamentals

    What the decision-maker needs to be aware of is that even apparently rational thinking is highly influenced by the emotions (and intuition/instinct) attached to it. 10 Total Points
    • Lesson 7 Video
    • Complete: Lesson 7 Exam

    Lesson 8: Decision Making: Making Tough Decisions

    Common sense suggests that some system of comparing pluses and minuses is what is required to make any decision, especially, the tough ones. 43 Total Points
    • Lesson 8 Video
    • Take Poll: How would you rate this course?
    • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
    • Complete: Lesson 8 Exam
    • Complete: The Final Exam
    Total Course Points

    Learning Outcomes

    By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
    • Recognize what problem solving actually is and why it's important to be good at it.
    • Describe methods for researching and gathering data needed for problem solving.
    • Identify your strengths and available resources for determining the most appropriate problem solving process.
    • Utilize the process, tools and techniques you have available to determine the best solution to a problem.
    • Summarize methodologies you may use when making tough decisions in the problem solving process, and
    • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

    Additional Course Information

    Online CEU Certificate
    • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
    • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
    • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
    • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
    • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
    Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
    Course Title: Problem Solving Strategies
    Course Number: 8900261
    Course Requirements: View Course Requirements
    Lessons Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars (1,004 votes)
    Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
    Course Type: General Education (Self-Paced, Online Class)
    CEU Value: 0.3 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
    CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
    Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
    Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
    Instructor: Dr. Dennis Mithaug
    Syllabus: View Syllabus
    Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
    Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $75.00

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