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Technological and Personal Problem Solving Styles: Is there a Difference?

Technological and Personal Problem Solving Styles: Is there a Difference?

Problem solving, and technological problem solving in particular, is clearly a critical survival skill in our technologically advanced world. Government, business, vocational and technology education leaders have increasingly called for more emphasis on higher-order thinking skills and problem solving in both general and technological areas. The American technology education profession has identified problem solving as the technological method (Savage & Sterry, 1990). Authors outside technology education have also suggested that both general and technology teachers would be well advised to focus on enhancing problem solving skills. Given this, the authors sought to examine several key aspects of problem solving in more depth. Of these, the first was problem solving style. Problem-solving style is defined as a tendency to respond in a certain way while addressing problems and not as the steps employed in actually solving the problem. It has been operationally defined by Heppner (1988) in terms of three distinct dimensions which can be measured by the Problem Solving Inventory (PSI). Collectively, these dimensions (problem-solving confidence, approach/avoidance, and personal...

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