What is problem solving?

Whether at school, in the workplace or in your personal life, everyone encounters setbacks. Knowing when and how to apply problem solving techniques is key to overcoming challenges to help you move forward and achieve success.

Why are problem solving skills important?

Problem solving has been found to be one of the top skills employers look for when recruiting, so learning how to apply this skill in different scenarios can help prepare learners for the world of work. By gaining an understanding of the six stages of problem solving, as well as identifying situations in which they already use these skills, learners will gain an adaptable approach to problem solving.

LifeSkills problem solving resources help make day-to-day problem solving easier and help you use a different perspective to reach a goal, whether at school, home or in employment. Use the activities below to understand the six stages of problem solving, as well as identify the different types of situations in which you might already be using these skills.

From lesson plans and activities for students to complete in the classroom to modules that help build the employability skills of adult learners you might be supporting one to one, our problem solving resources enable you to build your learners’ confidence to overcome challenges and think creatively to solve problems they encounter at school, college, in the workplace or their personal lives. 

Looking for more ways to boost problem-solving skills with LifeSkills?

Problem solving is important both to individuals and organisations to allow us to have control over our environment. It gives us the power to identify the things we want to change, and work out what needs to be done to create a desired outcome. Problem solving is also the source of all new inventions and social and cultural evolution, leading to continuing improvement in our communication and learning.

You can find lots of other LifeSkills content that may prove useful for helping yourself or your learners build their problem solving skills, so they feel confident in meeting challenges, overcoming obstacles and approaching creative and strategic projects from a different angle.

  • Students aged 14 and over can access the Young people hub to develop problem solving and other core transferable skills further, so you’re ready for the future workplace.
  • Educators can access our Educator hub which contains full-length lesson plans, modules, independent worksheets, online lesson films and interactive tools so you can deliver problem solving content to young people and adults, regardless of the setting. Make sure you set up your dashboard to see the content most relevant to you whether you are coaching an adult, teaching a class or mentoring a group.
  • If you’re an adult adapting to Changing worklife, our hub contains articles and advice on how you can boost your problem solving skills to achieve workplace success.