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40 Books on Designing Complex Troubleshooting and Problem Solving Training Program

40 Books You will find useful in designing complex problem solving skill training

In varied business situation whether it is job requiring an engineer to fix the customer’s under-performing equipment or a service not performing to customer expectations or business losses due to a faulty process, organizations expect from their employees to exhibit top-notch problem solving and troubleshooting abilities.

The troubleshooting abilities encompass a range of cognitive, metacognitive and higher-order skills. Some of these “constituent skills” are effective problem solving skills, higher order critical thinking, deep analytical skills, ability to evaluate the options and exert the judgment of high order, quick situational and conditional decision making in different situations at different times, sound cognitive and thinking  skills  and most importantly  metacognitive abilities to change strategies in different situations. Troubleshooting is highly non-linear process which varies in different situations.  The rate at which an employee acquire this high-order thinking, cognitive and metacognitive skills is function of many factors like exposure to number of real-life scenarios, cases, issues, problems and challenges while on the job.

Organizations worldwide are faced with this huge challenge – How to get their employees, engineers and professionals to acquire these troubleshooting and problem solving skills to maximum possible extent right within job-specific training courses and get them ready for the job in shorter amount of time? The challenge is how to design and deliver a troubleshooting training which equips their engineers with required on-the-job skills right within the training courses. Developing this kind of training requires systematic analysis of cognitive and metacognitive skills, skills in thinking based curriculum and integration of several innovative training delivery methodologies like case based training, problem based training to name a few.

I am listing here some of the good reference books that might help training professionals, instructional designers and learning strategists to put together various pieces of complex problem solving and troubleshooting training. Some of these books provide some proven model and instructional design techniques to design training courses that could to equip employees with troubleshooting, problem solving, critical thinking, situational decision making and other range of cognitive and metacognitive skills in systematic manner.

Instructional Design for Troubleshooting Training

  1. Learning to Solve Problems: An Instructional Design Guide (Tech Training Series) by David H. Jonassen, Publisher Pfeiffer (December 18, 2003). This book covers the models for designing interactive learning environments to support how to learn and solve different kinds of problems

Instructional Design for Cognitive and Problem Solving Skills

  1. Learning to Solve Problems: A Handbook for Designing Problem-Solving Learning Environments by David H. Jonassen, Routledge (September 9, 2010). Covers methods for constructing cases to support problem solving and cognitive skills
  2. Training Complex Cognitive Skills: A Four-Component Instructional Design Model for Technical Training by Jeroen J. G. Van Merrienboer, Publisher Educational Technology Publications (June 1997). Covers a new model on how to design complex technical training involving complex cognitive skills.
  3. Ten Steps to Complex Learning: A Systematic Approach to Four-Component Instructional Design by Jeroen Van Merrienboer and Paul A. Kirschner, Publisher Routledge (April 14, 2007). Presents ten steps path from a training problem to a training solution in a way that students, practitioners and researchers to support their design of courses, materials, and/or environments for complex learning.
  4. Design For How People Learn (Voices That Matter) by Julie Dirksen, Publisher New Riders Press (November 17, 2011). Covers key principles behind learning, memory, and attention to create materials that enables audience to both gain and retain the knowledge and skills
  5. The Action Learning Guidebook: A Real-Time Strategy for Problem Solving Training Design, and Employee Development by William J. Rothwell, Published Pfeiffer (July 15, 1999). Provides framework for training solutions that are problem-oriented, goal-based, and work-related so that no one ever loses sight of the job.

Teaching Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

  1. Frameworks for Thinking: A Handbook for Teaching and Learning by David Moseley, Vivienne Baumfield,  Julian Elliott, Steven Higgins,  Jen Miller, Douglas P. Newton, Maggie Gregson, Publisher Cambridge University Press (January 2, 2006). This handbook focuses on the thinking processes necessary for learning. It provides descriptions and evaluations of 42 major frameworks including Bloom’s taxonomy, de Bono’s lateral and parallel thinking tools, Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and Paul’s model of critical thinking.
  2. Thinking Through Quality Questioning: Deepening Student Engagement by Jackie A. Walsh and Elizabeth D. Sattes, Publisher Corwin Press (June 29, 2011). The book focuses on how to use power of questioning to enhance thinking.
  3. The Logical Thinking Process: A Systems Approach to Complex Problem Solving: by H. William Dettmer, Published American Society for Quality (August 31, 2007). The book provides skills in creating logic trees for problem solving.
  4. Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement by Ruth C. Clark, Publisher Pfeiffer (September 22, 2008). The book covers eight instructional principles and four instructional architectures to serve as design templates and practical guidelines for problem-centered instruction, motivation, and transfer.
  5. Teaching Problem Solving in Vocational Education by Rebecca Soden, Publisher Routledge (July 26, 1994). This book provides guidelines on how best to teach problem-solving skills and offers practical strategies on which training sessions can be based.
  6. Successful College Teaching: Problem-Solving Strategies of Distinguished Professors by Sharon A. Baiocco, Jamie N. DeWaters, Publisher Pearson Education (February 5, 1998). Book is based on extensive interviews with 30 award-winning professors and examines their personal teaching philosophies and the forces of change currently pressuring college teachers
  7. Teaching for Tomorrow: Teaching Content and Problem-Solving Skills: Ted McCain (Editor), Publisher Corwin Press (February 1, 2005).  The book covers high school level problem solving skills
  8. Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help Students Question Their Assumptions by Stephen D. Brookfield, Publisher Jossey-Bass (November 15, 2011). Covers basic protocol of critical thinking as a learning process that focuses on uncovering and checking assumptions, exploring alternative perspectives, and taking informed actions as a result.
  9. Learning to Think Things Through: A Guide to Critical Thinking in the Curriculum by Gerald M. Nosich, Publisher: Prentice Hall, 2012. Built on Richard Paul’s model of critical thinking, this book helps students engage in critical thinking within the discipline or subject matter they are studying.
  10. Critical Thinking: How to Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World by Richard W. Paul, Editors: Jane Willsen, A.J.A. Binker, Publisher: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 1995. The book focusses on how to help students become intellectually fit.

Teaching Meacognitive Skills

  1. Metacognition in solving complex problems: A case study of situations and circumstances that prompt metacognitive behaviors by Marta T Magiera, Publisher ProQuest, UMI Dissertation Publishing (Sep 4, 2011). The research thesis focusses on specific situations and circumstances within the problem-solving episode that the problem solvers refer to while explaining their thinking.  
  2. How to Teach Metacognitive Reflection (Mindful School) by Robin J. Fogarty, Publisher Corwin Press (June 1, 1994). The book emphasizes on incorporating reflection in teaching.
  3. Metateaching and the Instructional Map (Teaching Techniques/Strategies Series, V. 1) by William M. Timpson, Publisher Atwood Pub (June 1, 1999). The book presents an instructional map, a systematic tool to visualize the direction, components, and impact of different aspects of teaching.
  4. Metacognition, Cognition, and Human Performance: Instructional Practices by D. L. Forrest-Pressley  and G. E. MacKinnon,  T. Gary Waller (Editor), Publisher Academic Press (August 1985)
  5. Critical Thinking, Metacognition, and Epistemological Beliefs: How personal beliefs and thinking about one’s own thinking enhances higher order thinking by Steve Wyre, Publisher LAP Lambert Academic Publishing (April 30, 2010). Book is primarily focused on effect of adding metacognitive exercises in classes to enhance critical thinking.
  6. Metacognition in Science Education: Trends in Current Research (Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education)  by Anat Zohar (Editor), Yehudit Judy Dori (Editor) Publisher Springer (October 19, 2011). The book presents cutting-edge studies on how various forms of metacognitive instruction enhance understanding and thinking in science classrooms.
  7. Applied Metacognition by Timothy J. Perfect (Editor), Bennett L. Schwartz (Editor) Publisher Cambridge University Press (December 23, 2002). This study overviews the relationship between theories in metacognition and their real-world applications.
  8. The Taxonomy of Metacognition by Pina Tarricone, Publisher Psychology Press (April 6, 2011). This book provides a theoretical study of the construct of metacognition in terms of psychological theory and is a comprehensive representation and categorization of all of the terms, concepts, categories, super categories, subcategories and elements of metacognition.

Training Task Analysis and Instructional Analysis

  1. Working Minds: A Practitioner’s Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis by Beth Crandall, Gary Klein and Robert R. Hoffman, Publisher A Bradford Book (July 7, 2006) This book provides tools for doing Cognitive task analysis, methods for collecting data about cognitive processes and events, analyzing them, and communicating them effectively.
  2. Cognitive Task Analysis by Jan Maarten Schraagen (Editor), Susan F. Chipman (Editor), Valerie L. Shalin (Editor) Publisher Psychology Press (June 1, 2000). The book provides the tools and techniques for describing the knowledge and strategies required for task performance.
  3. Applied Cognitive Task Analysis in Aviation by Thomas L. Seamster, Richard E. Redding, George L. Kaempf. Publisher Gower Technical (May 1997). This book is a guide to cognitive task analysis in aviation which seeks to bridge the gap between the research and practitioner community who do not have training in statistics, psychology or cognition.
  4. Task Analysis Methods for Instructional Design by Jonassen, David H.; Tessmer, Martin; Hannum, Wallace H., published by Routledge (October 3, 1998) The book provides descriptions and examples of five different kinds of task analysis methods like job/behavioral analysis; learning analysis; cognitive task analysis; activity-based analysis methods; and subject matter analysis.
  5. Instructional Analysis and Course Development by Howard D. Lee, Orville W. Nelson. Publisher American Technical Pub (January 1, 2010). The book covers important procedures such as needs assessment, and uses graphics and charts to reinforce fundamental concepts.
  6. NewMager Six-Pack (Preparing Instructional Objectives / Analyzing Performance Problems / Goal Analysis) By Robert F. Mager, Publisher Lake / Pimann Learning (1999). The complete instructional design reference provides guidance on how to find feasible solutions to performance problems, create effective learning environments, measure the results of instruction and develop instruction that works the first time and much more.
  7. Instructional Analysis and Materials Development by Carl R. Bartel, Publisher Amer Technical Pub (June 1977).  This book is highly specialized for vocational education.
  8. Structure Analysis Methods for Instruction Theory and Practice of Instructional Architecture, Design and Evaluation by Makoto Takeya, Publisher Takushoku University Press (1999)
  9. Training Needs Assessment (Techniques in Training and Performance Development Series) by Allison Rossett, Publisher Educational Technology Publications (August 1987). The book presents a framework for need assessment.

Training Objectives, Competencies and Taxonomy

  1. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives Book 1: Cognitive Domain by Benjamin S. Bloom, Publisher Addison Wesley Publishing Company; 2nd edition edition (January 1984). Standard book on educational objectives for last 50 years.
  2. The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives by Robert J. Marzano (Editor) John S. Kendall (Editor) Publisher Corwin Press (December 20, 2006). The book is focused on inducing greater complexity, substance and higher level thinking learning objectives and rigorous assessment in the curriculum.
  3. A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Lorin W. Anderson and David R. Krathwohl,  Published Allyn & Bacon (December 29, 2000). This book is focusing on knowledge and cognitive processes and its two-dimensional framework interrelates knowledge with the cognitive processes students use to gain and work with knowledge.
  4. Designing and Assessing Educational Objectives: Applying the New Taxonomy by Robert J. Marzano (Editor), John S. Kendall (Editor) Publisher Corwin Press (May 1, 2008) This book is meant for educators across grade levels and content areas can apply the concepts of Marzano’s New Taxonomy to turn standards into concrete objectives and assessments to measure student learning.
  5. The Taxonomy of Metacognition by Pina Tarricone, Publisher Psychology Press (April 6, 2011). This book provides a theoretical study of the construct of metacognition in terms of psychological theory and is a comprehensive representation and categorization of all of the terms, concepts, categories, super categories, subcategories and elements of metacognition.
  6. Critical Thinking Competency Standards (For Educators), by Richard Paul and Linda Elder, Publisher: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2007. This guide provides a framework for assessing students’ critical thinking abilities and to determine the extent to which students are reasoning critically within any subject or discipline.
  7. Taxonomy for the Technology Domain by Lawrence A. Tomei, Publisher Information Science Publishing (March 4, 2005). This book presents a new classification system to incorporate progressively more sophisticated level of complexity by constructing increasingly multifaceted objectives addressing increasingly complex student learning outcomes.

Technical Training For Engineers

  1. What Engineers Know and How They Know It: Analytical Studies from Aeronautical History by Walter G. Vincenti, Publisher The Johns Hopkins University Press (February 1, 1993)
  2. Educating Engineers: Designing for the Future of the Field by Sheppard, Publisher Jossey-Bass (2008)

 Image credits: Poulsen Photo @FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

About Raman K. Attri

Raman K. Attri is a complex learning strategist, a transformational training consultant and a researcher with over 20 years of experience in engineering, management and technical training. His primary area of focus is to provide strategic directions to organizations in implementing next-generation competitive training strategies. His research interests include complex learning, accelerated expertise and advanced instructional design. He is also the founder of Personal Resonance©, a research forum with a charter to transform proven research studies on accelerated expertise into organizational training practices. His training and learning solutions are strongly founded in system engineering techniques applied to large-scale training programs. Equipped with scientific training methods, he innovated two research-backed complex learning frameworks namely SEAT© (Systems Engineering Approach to Training) and ProBT© (Proficiency Based Training) methodology primarily meant for organizations to accelerate development of complex cognitive skills of their employees systematically at faster rate. He is highly passionate about learning. He holds Professional Doctorate in Corporate Training, MBA in Operations Management and Executive MBA in Customer Relationship Management. Currently he is pursuing another Doctorate degree from Southern Cross University. His personal interests involve writing and painting.
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