To achieve Step 11, individuals will show that they can work through complex problems by using logical reasoning.
In the last couple of steps, the focus was on complex problems, where there is no obviously correct answer. Those steps explored how to create potential solutions for such problems, and how to evaluate them. Step 11 and Step 12 focus on more in-depth analysis of the issues to try to come to better conclusions where information is unclear.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
Logical reasoning is about using a series of rational, systematic steps to go from known information to a justifiable conclusion.
It is crucial when trying to analyse a complex problem, where we do not have perfect knowledge and we want to try to understand the links between different events. Logical reasoning can also support planning a sequence of events and how they might link together.
There are two main types of logical reasoning:
Deductive reasoning is about how we can deduce or predict specific outcomes through rules that we know to be true.
This is sometimes known as ‘top-down’ logic because we start with rules and reach conclusions from rules.
For example, we know that all rabbits are mortal. Therefore, if something is a rabbit, it must be mortal. However, that does not mean that everything that is mortal must be a rabbit.
In the context of the working world, we might be trying to plan a marketing campaign. We know that for most goods, demand for the good will increase when it is less expensive. Therefore, reducing the price of a product is likely to increase the demand.
As another example, we might know that the quality of a service is related to how much time a customer gets with a customer services operative. Therefore, if we make more time available with customer service operatives, then the customers will get a higher quality of service.
In summary, deductive reasoning is what we can predict based on what we know.
Inductive reasoning takes the opposite approach to deductive reasoning. It is about how we can induce or try to create general rules based on a situation.
This approach is known as a ‘bottom-up’ approach to logic. We make observations, and we strive to use those to learn lessons and make rules that make sense of those observations.
For example, we see that lots of rabbits die, and we are unable to find a rabbit that is older than 18 years old, so we might conclude that rabbits must be mortal.
In the context of the working world, we might see that lots of young people have started wearing hats, so we might induce that hats have become fashionable. Or our customer support number might have started receiving a lot more calls, thus we might induce that there is a problem with the service we are providing.
However, inductive reasoning is about reaching probable conclusions, rather than the certainties that deductive reasoning works towards.
In summary, inductive reasoning is what we can learn from what we can see in the world.
A logic tree is a problem-solving tool that uses a tree-like visual to help us lay out the different parts of a problem and the consequences of making different logics.
The logic tree can either be:
Of course, it might also be possible to combine these, as in the example given below:
Finding a suitable solution to a complex problem can be challenging at any stage of education. Logical reasoning is when you reach conclusions from rules or predict specific outcomes through rules that we know to be true help us to make predictions based on what we already know. Or it can be about how we can try to create general rules based on a situation. We may observe and learn from those observations and make rules based on what we have seen. For example, a student who has worked hard throughout their studies, contributing to lessons or lectures attentively, has handed in their assignments on time and has previously revised well for tests and performed well. Logically you could assume that that particular student will go on to achieve good grades in final exams.
Both inductive and deductive logic may be applied to complex problems in the workplace. For example,an events business might be trying to plan a new marketing campaign for an upcoming music festival. Using deductive logic - they know the demand for tickets to the music festival will increase when it is less expensive. Therefore, reducing the price of the tickets in a special promotion or early sale event is likely to increase the interest in and demand for the tickets, so they will sell more tickets. Using inductive logic – they have noticed more tickets are sold when there are more performers listed in the advertising from the very start. Therefore they induce that having a packed line up, with performers having shorter set times, is what the audience wants. In many organisations a specific individual, such as a Management and Marketing Consultant, or even a whole team will need to be applying these types of logic to solving complex problems.
As complex problems crop up in education, in the workplace and at home, there are tools that can help you to analyse a complex problem using logical reasoning. One tool is a logic tree. A logic tree is a visual tool which sets out the different parts of a problem and the consequences of each. A logic tree can either help us to understand why something has happened or help us to understand the problem. Many people find that by creating a logic tree they are able to make decisions to tackle the problem and overcome it.
To best practise this step of Problem Solving, apply what you have learnt to a real-life situation. Choose one or more of the activities below, remind yourself of the key points and strategies in the step, and have a go!
To teach this step:
This step can be reinforced in the classroom when there are opportunities to think through how theories are induced from what is seen in the world - for instance, how some scientific theories were induced.
Alternatively, the logic tree could be used to explore the causes of historical events or topics that are covered in geography. Finally, the logic tree can be used to identify the causes of social or environmental problems which would link well to youth social action projects.
This step is best assessed through:
This step is relevant to individuals who handle complex problems at work. To build this step in the work environment, managers could:
For those already employed, this step is best assessed through observation and discussion with an individual. For instance:
For those already employed, this step is best assessed through observation and questioning. For instance:
During the recruitment process, this step could be assessed by:
We work with a wide range of organisations, who use the Skills Builder approach in lots of different settings – from youth clubs, to STEM organisations, to careers and employability providers.
We have a lot of materials available to support you to use the Skills Builder Universal Framework with the individuals you work with, including:
We also do a lot of work with organisations who join the Skills Builder Partnership to build the Universal Framework into their work and impact measurement systems. You can find out a lot more using the links below.
At home, you can easily support your child to build their essential skills. The good news is that there
are lots of ways that you can have a big impact, including: