Theme 2: Use Good Problems

5 5: Well-Ordered Problems — Scaffold their learning

Gee’s 5th principle, WELL-ORDERED PROBLEMS, goes over the importance of focusing on problem solving. The first principle under this unit relates to level design in video games. Just as games don’t start us on the hardest level, we should be sure to sequence problems such that the solutions to early problems lead to solutions that work for harder problems.

WELL-ORDERED PROBLEMS strategies in teaching

  • Understand and honor that Experts have often forgotten the struggles in learning that Novices all need to go through. Try out explanations and assignments on people who know much less about your topic than you do.
  • Have students create teaching modules for each other. While their topic expertise may be lower than yours, they may have better insights into the experience and expertise of their classmates than you do. (If the modules are structured well, this can also lighten your future teaching load).
  • Add a few strategies that might work in your course, and see others’ ideas here.

WELL-ORDERED PROBLEMS strategies in Canvas

  • Be sure your course schedule scaffolds from topic to topic.
  • For students, figuring out your expectations is an important primary problem. “Well-ordered” applies to developing the course map too. Are topics, assignments, quizzes, etc. clear, logically-ordered, and easy to find?
  • Are topics, assignments, quizzes, etc. repeatedly and explicitly connected to clear course learning outcomes?
  • Add a few strategies that might work in your course, and see others’ ideas here.

Knowledge Check


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