Simplify Your Problems: The Psychology of Choice

A simple problem solving model to improve critical thinking, organization, productivity, management and creative skills.
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  • Lectures 12
  • Length 1 hour
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 9/2014 English

Course Description

Course Summary

Today more than ever, being able to effectively demonstrate you can solve problems is a critical skill for success. This short, 30 minute course teaches the I.D.E.A. model, a simple four-step problem solving process that can be applied to almost any problem you want to resolve. The course is structured by providing short lectures on how to use each individual step and includes access to additional tools and strategies that can be used along with the model. The course also includes a brief overview of a number of well known problem solving tools that you can use such as concept mapping, fishbone diagrams or establishing SMART goals.

The I.D.E.A. model includes how to;

  • Identify a problem
  • Develop and compare solutions
  • Execute a plan to achieve the solution
  • Assess the extent to which the problem was solved

Also included with the course is access to a number of resources, including over $30 worth of downloadable articles related to problem solving, decision making and creativity.

What are the requirements?

  • Note taking device such as a tablet is recommended by not required.
  • This course is in English.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • In this course you will learn how to identify a problem, develop and compare solutions, execute a plan and assess the extent to which the problem was solved.
  • By the end of the course you will know how to develop a concept map and use a fishbone diagram.
  • During the course you will be able to demonstrate understanding of how to trace a problem to the root cause.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is appropriate for anyone that is interested in developing general problem solving skills.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.



A quick introduction that discusses the main purpose of the course and how you can get the most out of the materials provided. Course Notes are available for download.

Section 1: IDEA Overview

This lecture provides a brief overview of the 4 steps of the IDEA model covered in the course.

Section 2: Using IDEA

This lecture discusses how to identify problems using both an informal method of asking "why" as well as more formal methods including fishbone diagrams and concept mapping. The lecture also includes two links to supplemental resources as well as two full scale, downloadable examples of concept maps.


After identifying a problem, the next step is to develop solutions. This lecture discusses five general strategies that can be used to develop solutions as well as three ways to compare solutions.

There is also a downloadable, 4th method for comparing options, "The Rubber Band Model".


When problems are complex and contain unknown variables outside of your control, using decision scenarios can help you develop multiple solutions.


Once a solution has been chosen, you still need to execute. While there are a variety of ways to execute a solution, this lecture discusses the use of SMART goals as one method to go from concept to implementation.


The last step in the IDEA model is to determine success. This lecture discusses the importance of assessment as well as what to do if the assessment shows the problem has not yet been solved.

Section 3: Quiz
Five Question Quiz
5 questions
Section 4: Congratulations!

While the course provides a number of tools and techniques to help when solving a problem, the main take away of the course is to remember to use the acronym I.D.E.A. the next time you are dealing with an issue.

Check Out the Resource List

Before you go, be sure to check out the resources page in the supplemental material, as there are a number of good research articles you can download ($30 value) and recommended books, many of which were used to create this course.

Provide a Review

To help other students, please take a moment to provide a review. If you have any feedback on how I can improve the course or something you would like to see, please don't hesitate to send me a message. Taking a minute to provide a review helps students find the course and lets them know how they can benefit.

Say Hello

Last, please feel free to reach out, even if it is just to say hello. Besides Udemy, you can find me on LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter or subscribe to my YouTube Channel.


This lecture discusses how to use the IDEA model to consider how we solve problems under pressure. The lecture also gives a number of tips you can use to improve your problem solving abilities.


A key aspect of problem solving is time management. One technique for managing time is by using a well known model of time management, the Eisenhower Matrix.


The “anchoring effect” is a well established psychological principle that often influences our judgments. This can impact how we solve problems. Research has shown that even when we are aware information is not accurate, it still provides an anchor from which we adjust. The end result is an inaccurate decision tied to the anchor.


Part of identifying a problem is digging to the root cause, but this can be made more difficult if you mistake correlation for causation. In this lecture you learn the difference between the two.

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Instructor Biography

Dr. Richard Feenstra, over 25,000 students on Udemy

Richard Feenstra is an educational psychologist with a focus on innovation, problem solving and productivity. His work experience includes military service, law enforcement, fire prevention and workplace safety. Richard is also a recognized expert witness regarding issues of safety and security. Richard holds an M.S. in workforce development and a Ph.D. in learning and technology.

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