Developing Scenarios

The development of scenarios for the adaptive thinking program would require a panel of personnel that will give input into the various components and provide feedback on the scenarios. Pilot sessions need to run with learners with varying amounts of incident experience.

Newell and Simon developed the problem space model in 1972. Later work by Howard Middleton refined the model (Figure below) to take into account the various ill-defined problems that are require a creative solution. An ill-defined problem does not result in a particular, certain answer. Ill-defined problems mirror real-world problems where information is conflicting or inclusive, where a person may disagree about appropriate assumptions or theories, or where values are in conflict. People may propose different solutions to the problem, each with particular strengths and weaknesses, whereas a well-defined problem results in a ‘right’ answer through the application of an appropriate procedure or process. Most textbook problem sets in mathematics, science, engineering, or business feature well-defined problems that have ‘right’ answers.

The model suggested by Middleton fits the manner by which decisions are made during an incident. The model has been defined by three components that occur in the problem space. 1) The problem zone represents the information known before the problem. Each problem solver may have different ways of considering the problem. For example, one incident commander (IC) experienced in this type of incident behaviour may evaluate the information about weather and terrain differently to another IC who has the training but little experience in real life. The problem zone captures a point that becomes the starting point and can be interpreted in various ways. 2) The search and construction space is the area the problem solver searchers to reach a solution. The search and construction space comprises of all the variants a problem solver may need to solve the problem. Ill-defined problems will have multiple variants that will not be any specific order; some variants may interact with other variants during the problem-solving activity. This allows the problem solver to look for the cues and use their own knowledge and previous experiences weigh them against the problem. In Figure 5 the construction space has been populated with the thinking themes; these are the variants that will be needed by the problem solver to make a judgement on the solution. 3) The satisficing zone refers to the stage where the problem solver can make a judgment on the solution.


Each scenario will be time limited, with the amount of time being allocated reducing with each scenario. Time spent on each screen and the interaction of the learner on the screen will be recorded and analysed to determine if the learner is developing their thinking skills. As well as the time and interaction records, the learner will be asked to complete a self-evaluation of their thinking skills pre and post-training.