Solved! Making the case for collaborative problem-solving

This report, compiled by a team from Nesta, argues that the ability to solve problems with others is a crucial skill for our young people in the workplace of the future but the current education system does little to support it.

Key findings

  • Collaborative problem-solving (CPS) is an increasingly important skill to teach young people in order to prepare them for the future.
  • Despite strong evidence for its impact, CPS is rarely taught in schools but if structured well it can reinforce knowledge and improve attainment.
  • Significant barriers exist for teachers implementing this practice, from behaviour management to curriculum coverage, to task-design.
  • For CPS to gain ground, a concerted shift is needed including teacher training, better resources and system level support.

The report makes a series of recommendations on how organisations and policymakers can help support and embrace the implementation of CPS. This is now being followed up with a series of small-scale pilots of aligned programmes in order to evaluate impact and explore how CPS can be implemented in a range of practical settings.

Policy recommendations

  • Stimulate production of quality collaborative problem-solving (CPS) resources and training, from primary education onwards.
  • Fund existing, aligned programmes to scale and evaluate impact.
  • Educate and involve the out-of-school learning sector and volunteer educators.
  • Develop smarter collaborative problem-solving assessment methods.
  • Help higher education organisations and MOOCs to track what works.