On Problems as Teaching Strategy

Merrill (2002) placed real-word problems at the center of effective teaching. The problems, however, must be judged “interesting, relevant, and engaging” (p. 46) to the lead to learners so they have a sense of caring that was labeled “ownership.” Such problems are also selected so that students understand the problems, care the problem be solved, they understand the tasks necessary to solve it, and the operations and actions necessary to complete the tasks. This is contrasted with teaching in which the operations and actions are taught without reference to problems or the tasks necessary to solve them. Problems, Merrill observed, become the focus for demonstrating, applying, and integrating the curriculum. 


Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational technology research and development50(3), 43-59.