Cycle: A Balanced Approach to Technical Problem Solving

divisionimpossibleNetworking and Communications

Oct 24, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)


Journal of Infor
mation Systems Education, Vol. 20(1)


Synthesizing Huber’s Problem Solving and Kolb’s Learning
Cycle: A Balanced Approach to Technical Problem Solving

Arnold Kamis

Beverly K. Kahn

Information Systems & Operations Management Department

Sawyer Business School

Suffolk University

8 Ashburton


Boston, MA 02108


How do we model and improve technical problem solving, such as network subnetting? This paper rep
orts an experimental study
that tested several hypotheses derived from Kolb’s experiential learning cycle and Huber’s problem solving model. As subjects

solved a network subnetting problem, they mapped their mental processes according to Huber’s problem so
lving stages by
tapping a keypad. Based on Kolb’s model, concrete and abstract representations of the subnetting problems were tested to
determine whether the form of the problem representation improved performance. For subjects for whom full process data
available, nine of the ten hypotheses were supported. A partial least squares model was developed which explained 27.5 percen
of the variance in performance with three predictors. Two of the three predictors for performance were from the Kolb side of
integrated model, whereas the third predictor was from the Huber side. We draw some implications for research and practice,
based on the integrated model to explain performance. We conclude that technical problem solving can be modeled as an
n of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle and Huber’s stages of problem solving. Additional research is needed to extend
Kolb’s cycle and Huber’s stages to other knowledge intensive problem solving domains and to a more diverse set of problem

: Technical problem solving, Learning cycle, Process tracing, P
artial least squares model