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Table of Contents




Problem.............................................................................................................. 1


Problem Solving................................................................................................2


THE PROCESS OF PROBLEM SOLVING.............................................................4

2.1 Creative Problem Solving: Four Stages Wallass (1926)...................................4





Incubation.......................................................................................................... 5


Insight (Inspiration)...........................................................................................6



INFORMATION PROCESS APPROACH.............................................................11

History....................................................................................................................... 13
Development............................................................................................................. 14
Memory and Development.......................................................................................14
Memory and Knowledge..........................................................................................15

PROBLEM SPACE THEORY...............................................................................16

Problem Space Hypothesis.....................................................................................20


PROBLEM SOLVING STRATEGIES....................................................................21

5.1ALGORITHS......................................................................................................... 21
5.2 HEURISTIC.......................................................................................................... 22
5.3 GENERAL PROBLEM SOLVING (GPS).............................................................25
5.4 MEAN END ANALYSIS (MEA)............................................................................27
5.5 ANALOGICAL REASONING...............................................................................29






Each problem will only rise when a human has a target but has no idea on how
this target is to be reached. If someone cannot go to the desired situation from
the given situation just by action, then there has to be alternative to thinking.
Such thinking has the task of developing some action, which may intermediate
between the current and preferred situations. (Duncker, 1945)

Problem Solving

Problem solving is a cognitive processe that concentrate to achieve a goal when there is
no enlightenment is obvious to the problem solver. (Mayer R. E., 2002)The definition is
actually depends on the solver. Actually, a problem is not a problem for all because for
an example, A car travels an average speed of 95 km/h. How far does the car travel in
30 min? This is a problem for primary school students, as they have not learned to
calculate speed distance. While for secondary students might feel this is not so hard
question as they already have the basic knowledge how to calculate and, they will have
to engage in cognitive processing where they have to put efforts to determine a correct
solution path. Meanwhile for a mathematic teacher this task is not a problem, but it
would be a routine question. She will be familiar with this kind of question, therefore on
the spot she will start to calculate the calculation.

Problem solving research often refers to a task that is not a problem like for the
mathematic teacher above as which was an exercise only. It is also common to see the
problems labeled as routine vs non-routine problem solving.

There are four characteristics of a problem solving, which are problem solving is
cognitive. It happens within and consequently can only be resulting indirectly by the
persons actions. Second characteristic is, problem solving is a process. It involves
representative and influencing knowledge in the problem solvers cognitive system, The
third characteristics are, Problem solving is directed, that is, the problem solvers
processing is directed by their goals and the fourth characteristics will be Problem
solving is personal. (Mayer R. E., 2006) The problem solvers knowledge and skills will
help them to decide the difficulty or comfort to find solution for every obstacle.

When studying problem solving, it is important that person engaged in solving a problem
so, if the problem is too easy for them as if like an exercise, that person will not be
thinking critically to solve that problem, so they will not be engaged in the problem
solving. Meanwhile, if the problem is too difficult for them, they will be stuck and will not
have further ideas. The solver will begin to casually try to guess the idea out rather than
reasoning through possible plans and connecting bits of knowledge to solve the

According to researchers, problems can be defined in various ways. The standard

definition will be well defined and ill defined or it is also described as well structured and
ill structured (Reitman, 1965). Well-defined problems have a clearly stated given state,
goal state and acceptable operators. Ill-defined problems are not having all three
characteristics clearly stated. For instance, a well-defined problem is, a metal ball is
dropped from 2 meter above the floor. What will its speed be just before it get down to
the floor? An example of an ill-defined problem is Calculate the number of men required
to build the Great Pyramid of Giza if it took 10 years. By the way, the definitions of welldefined and ill-defined are based on the problems rather than the solver.




Creative Problem Solving: Four Stages Wallass (1926)

In problem solving, the role of creativity has been recognized since Wallass (1926)
formative work. According to Wallas, when solving a problem, humans will go through
four different stages, which are: preparation, incubation, inspiration (insight), and


The initial period to solve a problem will be the first stage, where the search from many
directions using logic and reasoning. If the solution is found at this point of phase, we
dont have to proceed to next phases. If the problem is complex or ill defined, then it will
be hard to generate a solution at this phase. If the problem solver unable to think, they
will stop to think about it, which marks the beginning of the incubation phase. Incubation
can proceed from a few minutes to many years, at this point, the attention of the problem
solver will not devote to the problem.
According to Gestalt psychology, the perceptual illusion is similar to ill-defined as the
problems can be defined in various ways where some of the problems can have an
easier solutions. (Pols, 2002). Therefore, in the preparation stage we will put a lot of
efforts to think multiple ways to solve the problem but still we wont be able to find a
solution so, incubation stage will be easier to search for a better problem illustration,
while at insight stage we will find out more useful alternatives to solve the problems.


The incubation stage plays n important role in problem solving as it helps to solve a
problem better based on recent researches. (Wallas, 1926). These experiments studied

the effects of the incubation distance, preparatory activities, hint, diverting interest,
knowledge, and gender about the participants performance. Based on the review, they
have recommended that the performance will be positively related to incubation distance
and that preparatory activities can increase if there is consequence in the incubation
(Duncker, 1945).

There is also a strong effect if there is a hint given during the

incubation period. The performance is influenced with the hint given where if the hint is
useful the performance will be improved but if the hint is not useful then the performance
will be decrease. (Dodds, 2002).
To be interrelated these factors, the incubation stage has been linked to a well-known
cognitive effects, which is the memory, for instance the quantity of new words
remembered in a second consecutive free-recall test (Smith, 1991) and preparing.
Moreover, Yaniv and Meyer (1987) has shown that the participants who has feeling of
knowing (FOK) as high in a rare-word suggestion task which is more related to be more
efficient incubation will be more aware for a better resolution. For those participants who
scored either low or medium FOK will not be aware in the decisions.

Insight (Inspiration)

There are three elements to differentiate the difference to characterize insight from
psychological perspective (Pols, 2002). The first character is, insight will not only create
another different solution to solve the problem. This will be a changeover and brings a
big impact to the problem solver. Second, insight is unexpected; this is because insight
will compose a quick changeover from a state of not knowing to a state of knowing.
Finally the third character is, the new thoughtful is applicable: Although insight does not
direct to the solution, it will help to point to the direction for solving the problem.
Insight is always provoked with the insight problems according to the experimental
psychologist (Bowden, 2005). These problems are various and considered from the lack

of the direct point and incremental algorithms that is allowing the find the resolutions.
Based on previous studies, they have shown to create insight resolutions based on a
lot of circumstances (Bowden, 2005). Moreover, insight is recognized by a solid break in
the FOK, the feeling of warmness, or the progress made in a oral report (Pols, 2002).


Finally the verification stage, actually it looks like the preparation stage also. (Wallas,
1926, pp. 8586) Based on Ell theory, it will involve mainly in the categorical processing.
In the place of rule based verifications, the environmental responsed can also been used
when available. No matter of how verification is capable, if verification proposes that the
insight solution might be inappropriate, the whole process may be constant by going
back to the preparation stage (Wallas, 1926). In that case, EII forecasts that the
preparation stage can generate new information because the knowledge state has been
modified by the previous restatement of processing for an example some hypotheses
may have been rejected as insufficient or adductive reasoning might bring a new
clarification of the data.
Many process theories have been proposed to explain incubation and insight (as
reviewed below). However, it should be noted that each of these theories can be used to
explain only certain limited aspects of the data in the literature (Smith, 1991).
Furthermore, most existing theories do not attempt to explain insight and incubation
simultaneously. Below, some of the better-known theories of incubation and insight are
reviewed to provide the necessary background for the EII theory.


Finally, the verification phase closely resembles the first stage of preparation (Wallas,
1926, pp. 8586): It should thus involve mainly explicit processing according to the EII
theory. In addition, environmental feedback can be used in place of rule-based
verification (when available). Regardless of how verification is accomplished, if
verification suggests that the insight solution might be incorrect, the whole process may
be repeated by going back to the preparation stage (Finke et al., 1992; Hadamard, 1954;
Wallas, 1926). In that case, EII predicts that the preparation stage can produce new
information because the knowledge state has been modified by the previous iteration of
processing (e.g., some hypotheses may have been discarded as inadequate or
adductive reasoning might bring a new interpretation of the data).
Existing Theories related to Incubation.
Unconscious work. The most natural process theory of incubation, stemming directly
from (Wallas, 1926) intuition, is known as the unconscious work theory (Dorfman et al.,
1996; S. M. Smith & Dodds, 1999). According to this theory, the problem solver
continues to work unconsciously on the problem after abandoning conscious work. A
creative solution to a problem is developed unconsciously and reaches consciousness
as a whole. The unconscious work theory has the advantage of being consistent with
most anecdotes in the history of science. However, the presence of unconscious work is
difficult to assess experimentally (S. M. Smith & Dodds, 1999).
Conscious work. The conscious work theory was proposed in light of the difficulties with
the experimental assessment of un- conscious processes (S. M. Smith & Dodds, 1999).
According to the conscious work theory, a creative solution is found by working
intermittently on the problem while attending to mundane activities (e.g., taking a
shower, driving, etc.). Because attention switching from the mundane activity to the
incubated problem is very fast, the short episodes of work on the incubated problem are

forgotten, and only the final step is remembered.

Recovery from the fatigue.
The preparation phase in real-world situations can be very long and tiring. The problem
solver might be cognitively drained and therefore unable to solve the problem (S. M.
Smith & Dodds, 1999). According to this theory, the stage of incubation is a cognitive
respite period, which allows rejuvenation of the problem-solving skills.
Forgetting of inappropriate mental sets. False assumptions are sometimes made during
the preparation phase. These false assumptions erroneously constrain the possible
solution space and prevent the solver from producing certain solutions (S. M. Smith &
Dodds, 1999); the false assumptions must be forgotten to allow the problem solver to be
creative and access productive solutions. The incubation period serves this purpose.
Remote association. Solutions to already-solved problems are often stored in long-term
memory. When a new problem is en- countered, the previously stored solutions to
similar problems are automatically retrieved. However, these solutions might be
inappropriate and block the correct solution from being discovered. Less likely solutions
are discovered only when the most likely solutions have all been investigated. The
incubation phase is thus used to eliminate stereotypical solutions.
Opportunistic assimilation. Unsolved problems are often en- coded in long-term memory.
As long as the problem remains unsolved, the resulting memory structure is primed, and
environ- mental clues that may be useful in solving the problem can easily activate the
appropriate structure (S. M. Smith & Dodds, 1999). Incubation is the period in which
environmental clues are assimilated. Such incubation makes the problem solver
sensitive to details and hints that would have gone unnoticed without the priming from
the unsolved problem in long-term memory (Langley & Jones, 1988).

Existing theories from Insight .

Constraint theory. The first theory assumes that insight problems involve the satisfaction
of a large number of constraints (Mayer R. E., 2002) Limits related to cognitive
resources make it difficult to simultaneously satisfy a large set of constraints (Simon,
1972), which explains the intense experience associated with in- sight. This constraint
theory of insight has been used mainly to describe the problem-solving process via
schema completion (e.g., Schank & Cleary, 1995). In such a case, the problem solver
mentally constructs a structure that includes the initial condition (problem) and the goal
state (solution) and fills in the gap between the initial condition and the goal state that
may exist.
Fixation theory. Although the constraint theory has been useful in explaining historical
anecdotes and verbal reports of problem solving (Mayer R. E., 2002) it is limited to
cases where only the path between the initial state and the solution is missing.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. For example, the solution state is often
unknown in advance. As such, the fixation theory (Mayer, 1995; Ohlsson, 1992, in press;
Pols, 2002; Schilling, 2005; Schooler & Melcher, 1995; S. M. Smith, 1995) also assumes
that insight problems involve the satisfaction of constraints, but it does not assume that
all the constraints are stated in the initial problem: Problem solvers sometimes wrongly
assume constraints that are not part of the problem, which limits the search process to a
portion of the solution space (Isaak & Just, 1996). According to this theory, insight is
experienced when these unwarranted constraints are relaxed and a new portion of the
solution space be- comes available for exploration. The rejection of these constraints is
usually achieved by restructuring the problem (S. M. Smith, 1995).

Associationistic theory.
In the preceding theories, insight has been interpreted as successfully satisfying a set of
constraints (so as to break an impasse). However, not all theories assume that an
impasse has to be reached or that constraints must be satisfied. The associationistic
theory assumes that knowledge is encoded using a knowledge graph (Pols, 2002;
Schilling, 2005). According problems are solved by retrieving the correct association
(path) using parallel search processes. Insight is nothing special (Mayer, 1995; Schooler
& Melcher, 1995): The only difference between insight and non insight solutions is the
strength of the associations. Insight is experienced when an unlikely association solving
the problem is retrieved.
Evolutionary theory.
The evolutionary theory of insight (Campbell, 1960; Pols, 2002; Schilling, 2005;
Simonton, 1995) is based on the three principles of Darwins theory of evolution: (a)
blind variation/generation of solutions, (b) evaluation/selection of a solution, and (c)
retention of the selected solution (Simonton, 1995; see also Hadamard, 1954).
According to the evolutionary theory of insight, nodes in a graph represent knowledge,
and associations (links) are formed using an evolutionary selection principle. Solution
generation (i.e., the formation of associations) and selection are performed
unconsciously, and only the selected solution (association) reaches consciousness. If
the solution adequately solves the problem, insight is experienced.


The information processing approach is very much related to thinking and problem
solving skills. Newell and Herb Simon described computer programs emulate human in


problem solving. Herbert Simon and his colleagues verified that computers can be used
to simulate human intellectual or brain power. The improvement led to the understanding
that computer oriented information-processing models possibly will afford different
perception into the ways how the human thoughts or mind collects, stores, regains and
uses information. Information processing theory related to behaviourism which focus on
distinctive intellectual abilities. Experimental psychologists investigate theories or models
through multifaceted mental processes by computer imitation. Information-processing
models assist in regenerate the inner thought processes as an appropriate part of
scientific investigation.

The Information Process approach is commonly experimented as the reaction towards

behaviourism. Simon theory defines problem solving as an interaction or communication
between a problem and a problem solver. The information-processing theory of human
reasoning comprises some straightforward stages. Data or material that received from
external or internal stimuli kept by the senses and renewed through a range of mental
routes which represent by symbols or codes. Human brain receive attention from the
perceptual observes and practices which stored in either short-term memory or longterm memory. Short-term memory and long-term memory interconnects via past
information or records in order to produce the feedback or output.


The information processing theory in mental approach is to understand and realise the
method how human brain transform sensory information to working memory and longterm memory. The model assumes the information that originates from the surroundings
is the elements to mental developments outside a simple stimulus reaction design. The
"input" from the environs pass through the cerebral systems where later it will be
measured by the "output". Information or data that been received can take a number of
routes depends on attention, encoding or encrypting, recognition, and storage. The
central decision-making feature limits the amount of information to be processed,
although basic sensory parts of the human brain receive environmental input first. This
information processing theory focus on real time reactions to present towards stimuli and
how the brain transmute that information.

The cognitive or reasoning revolution during late 1950's glimmered the development of
the information processing theory and approach. The key substance of the cognitive
rebellion was due to the discovery or invention of the computer. This model created to
represent cerebral developments which similar to the computer. A compromised model
later developed by Atkinson and Shiffrin that is recognized as the modal model (1968).
The concept of this new modal basically includes the ideas of internal processes which
were ignored by the behaviourists. This model gives a basic design for investigational
study of these inner processes.


All individuals progress information with better productivity. This information process
design above presume that through the process of development everyone progresses
better capacities to attend to the stimulus, identify outlines, encode, and retrieve
information. Over the time everyone experience more information, greater memories,
associations and techniques to classify the input. The progression tend to be inactive or
passive, but this model presume that input from the surroundings is actively transformed
and rehearsed becomes a part of long-term memory. Environmental information
becomes part of the long-term memory by attention and practice which make sense to
the stimuli. This collaboration between nature and nurture important for the changes in
Memory and Development
The process of storing or keeping information into memory varies and subject to the age
of the child.
As children grow, their knowledge increase, thus they improve their cognitive abilities,
increase memory capability and additional social and cultural aspects serve as main
providers to their development. Elder childrens usually develop their memory strategies


on their own. They are better in determine which memory approach suitable for certain
environments and responsibilities. This young children also intelligent in selectively pay
attention to essential information and filter out inessential information. Hence, young
children are proficient in using rehearsal to memorise if they are told to practice, but they
are poor in immediately producing a strategy (Miller, 2011, p.283) production
insufficiency. Thus, young children are not capable to find out the suitable time to use
specific strategies.
Memory and Knowledge
As specified above, younger children have less memory capability. Childrens level of
understanding is inherently linked with their memory (Miller, 2011, p.285). As the child
grows, they are capable to process information as quick as possible, and they have
increased their ability on how much information they be able to take in at a time.
Improved memory capacity permits the child to practice and keep more information.
(Miller, 2011, p.290) Therefore, older children are capable to absorb added information at
quicker rate, thus it permitting well competence in information processing. InformationProcessing Theory also interpret memory and knowledge formation as functioning
together, and not as separate. Individuals are capable of recall or remember information
when they have knowledge or information, which rises the remembrance of stored
information. Increased knowledge permits the individuals to more freely access
information since it is already categorized and the bits of information associate to one
another. Increased knowledge also allows the children to search information from their
long-term memory and consume it in correct situations. When children able to make
more connections, they are capable of making more multifaceted network associations,
thus they are better in recall the information. A progressive breakthrough studied over
the children where their capability to take information and explicate upon it analysed.


Younger children are better in pure recall the information they process. Nevertheless, as
a child grow and increase their knowledge, they are capable of collect information, make
interpretations, conclusions, and go further than the pure recall. (Miller, 2011, p.286).
When a children grow, they too obtain an understanding on their own memory and how it
progress. This process known as metamemory. Children also get to know the
information about how human cognitive working, which known as metacognition. These
are the essential evolving milestones, which specify the children are able to progress
more complex and less solid information. The process of our own memory is important in
our overall brain functioning, because it display a thoughtful understanding of our own
brain and memory operations which related to specific responsibilities and how best to
adjust our learning and memory strategies.



Generally, we get problem when we require to overcome the stumbling block and to get
off from the present situation to a preferred or goal situation or state. Solving a problem
is the practice implemented by all individuals to get off from the present state to the goal
state. A problem space comprises of the theoretical conditions that a problem solver
pass through in its processing or transformation of the initial state to reach the goal
state. Problem space = intitial state + operations required to reach goal state. Operators
are specific knowledge structures that transform data from initial staes to goal state.
Newell introduces the problem space principle as "the rational activity where people
involve to solve problem that can be described as; (i) a states of knowledge, (ii)
operators needed for changing from one state into another, (iii) constraints or restrictions
in using operators and (iv) control knowledge to choose the right operator to solve the


Human Problem Solving book, published by Allen Newell and Herbert Newell in year
1972 act as a guideline for problem space theory in solving problems. By using the
theory, human beings solve their daily life problems by identify the problem space. The
problem space comprises of the original or present state, while the objective state or
desired outcome state and all other potential states in between initial and goal state. The
actions or steps that people carry on to transfer from one point or state to an alternative
point or state known as operators.

For example, the eight numbers brainteaser in the diagram above, consists of the
original order of number. The preferred order of tiles at the end would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7 and 8 while all the potential order might be attained at in among the number from 1 to
8. Nevertheless, the problem spaces sometimes can be very huge when the significant
concern is on how individuals pass through their journey via the available opportunities
but they only have very limited working memory capacities. Choosing the correct
operators are vital to reach the desired goal. Usually, our domain knowledge help us to
select the accurate operators in solving the problems. But for unusual complications,
Newell and Simon recommended that the operator usually directed by reasoning
alternative route known as heuristics.


Heuristic also known as difference in reduction or hill-climbing, where individuals take

several actions that leads them to move from current state towards the goal state. For
example, in the hobbits and orcs problem, at a bank of a river there were 3 hobbits and 3
orcs. All of them need to use only one boat which is able to transfer 2 living being at one
time to reach opposite side of the river. While the aim is to bring all 6 living being across
the river to the opposite side. At any point of the time, the number of orcs on either side
of the river cannot be more than the number of hobbits otherwise the orcs would eat the
outstripped hobbits. For this problem, the current state is the initial state where all 6
creatures at the starting bank while the end state or goal state is the when all 6 creatures
moved to the ending bank. The objective of this problem is to identify an appropriate
technique of moving all the 6 creatures to opposite side of the river without the hobbits
being outstripped. The result for this problem, with the steps on transporting shown in
the diagram below. Overall it requires 12 steps all together to transport the 3 ors and 3
hobbits across the river.

A more refined heuristic is known as means-end-analysis. The means-ends analysis

focus on actions which direct to the ultimate decrease in transformation among the


present or current state and goal state. Furthermore, it also identifies the steps to follow
if the action unable be taken. Means-ends analysis might be identified in 4 steps as
1. Compare the present state with the desired or end state. If there is no difference
concerning both present and desired state, then the problem is considered
2. If there is a difference concerning the present state and the desired state, then fix
a new goal to settle that difference.
3. Choose an appropriate operator that able to solve the differences that recognised
in Step 2.
4. If the operator suitable to apply then apply it and if cannot means fix a new goal
to reach desired state where can apply the chosen operators.
The application of means-ends analysis, demonstrated below by using the Tower of
Hanoi problem.


Problem space for the Tower of Hanoi problem shown in above diagram. The arrow on
the right indicates that the most efficient solution comprises of reaching the goal state
which is the 8th state by traversing intermediate states from state 2 to 7.

Newell and Simon invented General Problem Solver (GPS), a workstation or computer
based program which used means-ends analysis in discovering solution for well-defined
problems. Well defined problems are which have clear paths and have all states from


IGOR (initial state, goal state, operators and restrictions). We can acquire the operators
by trial and error method. Trial and error method is the source of behaviourist problem
solving. Operators also can be derived direct instructions from the problem. Analogies
also define as the operators based on the domain (the source), where components that
could be used to support problem solving in other domain (the goal). On the other hand,
learners often struggle to spot analogies.
Problem Space Hypothesis

The Problem Space Hypothesis is the knowledge within all potential state of concerns
towards a problem which relates to a node in mental graph. Every node relates to a
positive state of concerns at certain time when going through the problem-solving
process. The Problem Space Hypothesis generally illustrate every step when resolving
problem. A better problem solvers use an effective path which have the smallest number
of steps within the initial state and the goal state. In year 2002 Burns and Vollmeyer
conduct a study which observed the idea of examining a problem space to produce
results. Partakers in the study were requested to control inputs by using lime, salt and
carbon to observe results to the outputs which was the temperature, CI concentration,
and oxygenation to obtain specified goal.

Their outcomes showed that general goal partakers (who were not given what the goal
was until after an investigation period) recorded greater than detailed goal partakers
(who were given the specific goal at the commencement of the task, but was told that
they did not have to accomplish it until after the investigation period). Newell and Simon
summarized that these outcomes illustrate that by having a detailed goal we can reduce
the amount of energy which devoted in searching the problem space




Problem solving is a mental process that involves discovering, analyzing solving

problems. The ultimate goal of problem solving problem is overcome obstacles and find
a solution that best resolves the issue.

The best strategy for solving problem depends

largely on the unique situation. In some cases people are better off learning everything
they can about the issue and then using factual knowledge to come up with a solution.
In other instances creativity and insight are the best options.

There are five problem

solving strategies when problem solving, deciding which method to use depends on the
need for either accuracy or speed

An algorithm is a specific set of instructions for carrying out a procedure or solving
problem, usually with the requirement that the procedure terminate at some point.
Specific algorithms sometimes also go by the name method, procedure or technique.
We use algorithms every day.

For example a recipe for baking cake is an algorithm.

Most programs, with the exception of some artificial intelligence application, consist of
algorithms. Algorithms resemble recipes. Recipe tells you how to accomplish a task by
performing a number of steps.

For example to bake a cake the steps are; preheat the

oven; mix flour, sugar, and egg thoroughly pour into a baking pan and so forth. In the
mathematics, an algorithm is a defined set of step-by-step procedures that provides the
correct answer to a particular problem.

By following the instructions correctly, you are

guaranteed to arrive at the right answer. The steps in an algorithm are very precise and
well defined. The upside of using an make a decision is that yields the best possible
answer every time. This is useful in situations when accuracy is very important or where
similar problems need to be solved frequently.

The downside of using an algorithm of


using an algorithm to solve a problem is that this process tends to be very time
consuming and it is not always the best approach to problem solving.

Another examples is binary arithmetic converting from decimal to binary , tying shoes
and spell checking. A search engine uses algorithms. In fact, it is difficult to think of a
task performed by your computer that does not use algorithms.

Algorithms method

takes least time uses the least memory, it is also a method that is shortest to describe
and speed is now the most important factor.

Heuristic is a mental rule of of tumb strategy that may or may not work in certain

Unlike algorithms, heuristics do not always guarantee a correct solution.

However using this problem solving strategy does allow people to simply complex
problem and reduce the total number of possible solution to a more manageable.
Pertains to the process of gaining knowledge or some desired result by intelligent guess
work rather than by following some pre-established formula.

The term seems to have

two usages:
1. describing an approach to learning by trying without necessary having organized
hypothesis or way of providing that the results provided or disproved the hypothesis.
That is seat-of-the-pants or trial by- error learning.
2 .pertaining to the use of the general knowledge gained by experience, sometimes
expressed as using a rule of thumb (however heuristic knowledge can be applied to
complex as well as simple everyday problems.

Human chess players use a heuristic



A heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows people to solve problem and make
judgements quickly and efficiently.

These rule of thumb strategies shortest decisions

making time and allow people to function without constantly stopping to think about their
next course of action. Heuristic are helpful in many situation, but they can also lead to

Heuristics play important roles both problem solving and decision making.

When we are trying to solve a problem or make a decision, we often turn to these mental
shortcuts when we need a quick solution.

While heuristic can speed up our problem

and decision making process, they can introduce errors.

Just because something has

worked in the past does not mean that it will work again, and relying on an existing
heuristic can makes it difficult to see alternative solution or come up with new ideas.
For example , you may be an experienced driver.

Over time you have learned that

when you come to a stop sign, you need to come to a complete stop or you will get a
ticket. Now whenever you little thought at all to what behaviour is required, you see the
stop. You have a heuristic for stop signs.

The term Heuristic refers to Armstrong who was the exponent of this strategy.


and Dankar (1945) called it problem solving. It is based on the psychological principals
of trial and error theory. Logical and imaginative thinking are perquisites for his type of
teaching strategy. It is an economical and speedy strategy.

A problem is placed before the learners and they are asked to find the solution of the
problem through various literacy means, like library laboratory and workshops etc.
Teachers role is to initiative the learning and pupils are active throughout the learning

By using their creative thinking and power, they try to find out the relevant

solution based on some logic. This strategy is focused on

1. To develop problem solving attitude
2. To develop scientific attitudes towards the problem


3. To develop power of self- expressions

It basic principles are :
1. To each as little as possible at one time
2. To encourage learner to learn himself as much as possible
There are few advantages of this heuristic teaching strategy
1. It helps in achieving cognitive, affective and psychomotor objectives i.e. it helps
in all around development of the child
2. Students are put into the situation to learn by self- experience.

It certainly

developing self- confidence and self- reliance in the learners.

3. It helps in developing scientific attitude and creativity in the learners
4. Teacher encourages the learners to explore the environment in search of the
solution of the problems.

By doing so some new knowledge is discovered by

5. Teacher is always ready to provide individual guidance regarding the solution of
the problem.

Thus interaction between the teacher and the learner takes place

in a cooperative, conducive environment.

Anyway there are also disadvantage of heuristic teaching method;
1. It cannot be used at primary level of education
2. Higher intelligence and divergent thinking is required in the learners. But, there
are some students who are below average and fail to succeed in discovering the
solutions of the problems. It frustrates them.
3. In true sense, none of the teachers have patience for providing individual
guidance to the learners. And learners to feel hesitation to approach the teacher
for seeking his help.
In heuristic method, the student be put in the place of an independent discoverer.
Thus no help or guidance is provided by the teacher in this method. In this method the
teacher sets a problem for the students and then stands aside while they discover the

By this heuristic method a student can solve a problem by using his scientific

attitude, explains his activities to be done , demonstrates the experiments, illustrates the


results of the experiments, acquires the knowledge about the new concepts, thinks
independently and collects and analyses the data for information.
General problem solving heuristics that students may find helpful are firstly identify

Break a large complex task into two or more specific substasks that can be

more easily addressed.

Secondly use paper and pencil.

Draw a diagram, list a

problems components or jot down potential solutions or approaches.

Thirdly draw an

analogy- identify a situation analogous to the problem situation and derive potential
solution or approaches.

Fourthly brainstorm.

Generate a wide variety of possible

approaches or solutions including some that might initially seem outlandish or absurdwithout initially evaluating any of them. Once a lengthy list has been created, evaluated
each item for its potential relevance and usefulness. Lastly incubate the situation. Let
a problem remain unresolved for a few hours or days allowing time for a broad search of
long term memory for potentially productive approaches.

The general problem solver (GPS) was a theory of human problem solving stated in the
form of a stimulation program (Ernst & Newell,1972). This program and the associated
theoretical framework had a significant impact on the subsequent direction of cognitive

It also introduced the use of productions as a method for specifying

cognitive psychology.

The theoretical framework was information processing and attempted to explain all
behaviour as a function of memory operations control process and rules.


methodology for testing the theory involved developing a computer simulation and them
comparing the results of the simulation with human behaviour in given task.
comparisons also made use of protocol analysis (Ericsson & Simon. 1984),


in which


the verbal reports of a person solving a task are used of indicators of a task are used as
indicator of cognitive of cognitive process.

GPS was intended to provide a care set of processes that could be used to solve a
variety of different types of problems. The critical step in solving a problem with GPS is
the definition of the problem space in terms of the goal to be achieved and the
transformation rules.

Using a means-end-analysis approach, GPS would divide the

overall goal into subgoals and attempt to solve each of those.

Some of the basic

solution rules include transform one object into another, reduce the different the
between two objects and apply an operator to an object. One of the key elements need
by GPS to solve problems was an operator-difference table that specific what
transformations were possible.

While GPS was intended to be a general problem-

solver, it could only be applied to well defined problem such as providing theorems in
logic or geometry, word puzzles and chess.
Newell and Simon defined each problem as a space. At one end of the space is the
starting point, on the other side is the goal.

The problem solving procedure itself is

conceived as a set of operation to cross that space, to get from the starting point to the
goal state, one step at a time.

In the GPS, the program tests various actions (which Newell & Simon called operator)
to see which will take it closer to the goal state. An operator is any activity that changes
the state of the system. The GPS always choose the operation that appears to bring it
closer to its goal.

This tactic is called hill climbing, because it resembles that tactic of

always taking a step toward the top of hill or mountain.

toward long term objectives one day at a time.

Similarly, humans struggle,

Progress through school can be


represented as a problem space. As you complete each course in your curriculum, you
take one step closer to the goal of obtaining a degree.

GPS are designed to emulate human problem solving protocols. It is similar as meansend analyser. GPS works by working out how to arrive at goal state from current state.
Procedures selected according to their ability to reduce the observed difference between
the current state and the goal state, which is also known a means, ends analysis. GPS
was designed to solve lots of kinds of problems, using the same reasoning mechanism
(i.e algorithm) for every problem.

Simon & Newell studied how humans solved problems, and realized that we often
perform means-ends analysis.

In MEA, the problem solver begins by envisioning the

best strategy for attaining the goal in his current situation. MEA is a approach that puts
together aspects of both forward and backward reasoning in that both condition and
action portion of rules are considered when we decide which rules to apply. This means
we could solve major parts of a problem first and then return to smaller problems when
assembling the final solution.

The logic of the process takes into account the gap

between the current situation and the desired goal-where we wish to get to and
proposes actions in order to close the gap between the two. The method uses a set of
rules that enable the goal to be achieved iteratively.

The rules consist of two parts: rules that are prerequisites and ones that show the
changes to be implemented. MEA works by considering the present position as the
current state and the objectives as the goal state. The differences between the desired
and the goal state are considered and actions are proposed that reduce the gap


between the initial and desired states. Since these process is working from the current
state towards a goal it is said to be doing forward chaining which implies a search
strategy and a procedures that regards goal achievement as success or if the outcome
of a sub-goal is failure a new search is begun.

Example, aunt Agatha lives in Brighton and has invited me to tea this afternoon- she has
a lot of money which she may leave to me which is actually a longer term goal for this
journey. I am sitting in my office in London and need to decide how to get to Brighton.
Now there are lots of ways to do this: train, car, bus, on foot, private jet or roller blades
but I subject myself to the following cost constraints: I must arrive at Brighton today
within three hours, the journey must cost no more than $100 and any distances less than
one mile must be walked. To begin this process I consider the available means against
my constraints and decide on taking the train via Victoria to Brighton. To do this I need
to leave my office and travel to the main station at Victoria which is a new goal. To get
to Victoria I can walk, take a taxi, bus or go by underground.

Because of time

constraints and cost I decide to take the underground to Victoria-this becomes a new
sub goal. The nearest tube station being less than one mile away I walk. On arrival at
the station I find the line is down due to a breakdown (goal failure). I can return on foot
to get my car to drive to Brighton but this moves me away from my goal on cost and

I decide to take the bus to Victoria, which becomes a new gaol and as the

distance is less than one mile I walk to the bus station. I take the bus to Victoria alight
and walk to the station office and purchase a ticket to Brighton.

At Brighton I have to

get to Agathas house-I can use the bus, taxi or Walk. As the distance is less than one
mile I walk and arrive at Aunt Agathas house the end goal.MEA is a problem solving
strategy that arose from the work on problem solving of Newell and Simon (1972).


means-ends-analysis, one solves a problem by considering the obstacles that stand


between the initial problem state and goal state.

The elimination of these obstacles

(and, recursively, the these obstacles in the way of eliminating these obstacles) are then
defined as (simpler) sub goals to be achieved.

When all of the sub goals have been

achieved-when all of the obstacles are out of the way-then the main goal of interest has
been achieved. Because the sub goals have been called up by the need to be viewed
as a search strategy in which the long-range goal is always kept in mind to guide
problem solving. It is not as near-sighted as other search techniques, like hill climbing.
MEA is a version of divide and conquer is purely recursive: the sub problems that are
solved are always of the same type. MEA is more flexible and less obviously recursive,
because the sub problems that is defined for it need not all be of the same type.


Analogical reasoning is the subject can use a previous problem to solve a new problem
and bypass an increment search for the problem space. It is also defined as any type of
thinking that relies upon an analogy. It is a process of reasoning from particular to
particular, it derives a conclusion from ones experience in one or more similar situations.
From the above explanation it is understood that analogical reasoning is a method of
processing information that compares the similarities between new and understand
concepts, then uses those similarities to gain understanding of the new concept. It is a
form of inductive reasoning because it strives to provide understanding of what is likely
to be true, rather than deductive proving something as fact. This method can be used by
both children and adults as a way to learn new information or as part of a persuasive.




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