To achieve Step 2, individuals will approach difficult problems by seeking advice from an appropriate person to help them to solve the problem.
This builds off the previous steps, which focused on being able to complete tasks by following instructions, or finding someone to help if they needed it. This step changes the focus to explaining problems and asking for advice so that the learner can then complete the task.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
In many cases we can work out how to solve a problem ourselves. Sometimes though, we may need the help and support of someone else. This might be a friend, a teacher or lecturer or another member of staff. In order to help though, they will need to know exactly what the problem is. It is important that we explain carefully what it is we are trying to do and why. They need to know what the goal is, where we got stuck and what we have tried to do so far to get unstuck. For example, if you did not do as well as you had hoped in an exam, thinking about why this happened, what you found difficult and steps you have already taken to help. This way they can give the best advice to help us solve the problem and move forward.
In your place of work, be it an office, a retail space, a factory, a hospital, a school or elsewhere, there will be someone who can help you should you come across a problem and you need help to solve it. This might be someone else in your direct team, a manager or a person from another department. It will be important to explain your problem clearly so that they can best advise you. You may have a problem with a customer or colleague, or you may need to share back some information to the team and you do not know where to find it. As they listen to the information you share, they are likely to then be able to offer some advice to you. It is important, if someone has taken the time to listen to your problem and offer solutions to your problem that you listen carefully to them.
There are many situations in life when you might face a problem and need advice from someone else. For example, you might be making dinner for some family members but you’re not sure of the recipe or it’s a friend’s birthday but you don’t know what gift to get them. Sometimes when we are given advice by people close to us, we might be so pleased they have suggested a solution to our problem that we just follow their advice without really thinking about it. Listen carefully to any advice offered to us, think about it and check it all makes sense before taking action is needed so that further problems do not crop up.
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 effectively practised in the context of a classroom, for example, by helping learners to structure how they ask for advice if needed. Alternatively, the teacher can encourage learners to turn to one another with questions if they are stuck on a problem.
This step is best assessed through observation over time. For example, by observing whether learners can effectively articulate problems that they are facing and act on good advice.
It is also possible to assess this step through a structured activity where learners have to seek help from others to complete the task (for example, learners have incomplete information, so they need to ask a peer for advice to complete the task). This can be effective, but needs to be carefully designed to make it necessary for a problem to be articulated and advice sought and acted on.
This step is relevant to all individuals who are involved in solving problems at work.
To build this step in the work environment, managers could:
There are plenty of opportunities for building this skill in the workplace:
For those already employed, this step is best assessed through observation. 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: