1.2 Problem solving

Performance indicator

  • I am able to detect/realize problems in the (learning-)process
  • I am able to point out different ways to solve the problem
  • I am able to find effective solutions to the problem

Learning objective

  •  I know and I can apply the basic ways to identify solutions
  •  I know and I can apply the basic principles of decision making

Activity 1

Theoretical self study


  • Please read the available resources and study text about problem solving
  • Use a problem from your working experiences with VET students and list the main question to ask to
    a) identify the problem,
    b) demonstrate the right questions

Self-evaluation method

Discussion with other coaches.

Activity 2

Practical exercise


  • Make a list of recent problems you have encountered at work as a VET coach
  • Look back at the list you have just made of recent problems you have encountered at work. Mark each problem with a P/T/R to show if it was people-related, task-related or resource-related.

Self-evaluation method

Discussion and test

Activity 3

Practical exercise


  • Cite a problem to refer to in this activity.
  • If you are already working, as a VET coach, then it’s likely that you already have a current problem to address or you can refer to a problem from past experiences. Alternatively, you can imagine a problem that might occur in your collaboration with a VET student.
  • There are plenty of problem-solving techniques available, as already seen in this section. Some of these techniques are more appropriate than others for certain problems.
  • Outline the work-based problem that you have chosen. Select one of the problem-solving techniques that you think best solves the issue.

Self-evaluation method

 Do the Quiz.

Activity 4

Working group exercise - Problem solving and decision making game


Play Game Desert Island Survival

  1. Organize a group of people as your team
  2. Make a scenario where players need to prioritize and make decisions
  3. All group members must agree on the order of the steps and Players should explain the reasoning for the order of each step while ranking the actions.


Desert Island Survival is a game that challenges players to prioritize. The premise is that players have been strandedn an island, and must decide what order to perform survival steps.

Here are the possible actions:

  • Rest
  • Find food
  • Find water
  •  Set up shelter
  • Explore the island
  • Try to signal for help
  • Make weapons for self-defense
  • Build a raft to escape the island
  • Start a fire
  • Choose a group leader
  • Search for other survivors


Another version of the game involves players receiving a list of 15 to 20 items, and selecting five or so to bring to the island. You can also vary the location of the game, substituting remote islands for destinations like outer space or the distant past.


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