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Developing career resilience
Developing career resilience

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1.3 Problem solving

In Activity 1, you started looking for potential solutions to a problem you had identified, and this is a key element of problem solving.

Bransford & Stein (1993, p. 20) identified a useful model of problem solving that can be used in different contexts, known as the IDEAL model:

  • I = Identify problems and opportunities
  • D = Define goals
  • E = Explore possible strategies
  • A = Anticipate outcomes and act
  • L = Look back and learn

Applied flexibly, i.e. not necessarily in a fixed order, the authors recommend this framework as a method for improving thinking and problem solving skills.

The key is in really identifying the problem. For example, it’s not enough to say ‘I can’t get the job I want’ – you need to ask yourself why that is, and narrow down the problem. This brings in another problem solving model, known as the Five Whys.

Watch this short video to hear it explained in more detail:

Video 4 Five Whys
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Applying the Five Whys can be another useful approach to moving things forward if you feel stuck on a particular problem.

Another skill that is often closely linked with resilience is adaptability, and you’ll explore the concept of career adaptability in the next section.