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Top 50 problem solving activities, games & puzzles for remote teams

Blockchain and Crypto / March 6, 2022 by admin

Here is a list of the top 50 problem solving activities, games & puzzles best suited for remote teams. Read on!

What are problem solving activities?

The success of a company or organization depends heavily on the managers’ ability to help workers develop their problem solving skills. Problem solving activities that address areas such as teamwork and cooperation, adaptability or reinforcement of decision-making strategies help.

All processes of problem solving begin with the identification of the problem. The team will then evaluate the possible course of action and select the best way to tackle it. This needs a profound understanding of your team and its core strengths.

Not only among corporates, but problem solving activities find their use in educational settings as well. Students who are good at solving problems will become much more successful than those who are not. Remote work and education are on the rise.

Enabling smooth interpersonal communication to solve problems can become a task in these situations. However, engaging all the people concerned in problem solving activities before shifting to the remote space can ease the process.

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Key skills evaluated in problem solving activities

Problem solving skills refer to the necessary thinking skills that an individual or group uses when met with a challenge. Many issues require the use of several skills; others are easy and may require only one or two skills. These are some skills that help to solve problems,

  • Communication skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Negotiation skills
  • Logical reasoning
  • Persistence
  • Lateral thinking

Problem solving skill examples

Several problems occur at the workplace. Problem solving skills can be technical problems that occur on websites or apps or addressing client concerns. Problems could be simple or complex. Business managers spend time and resources to solve problems.

They encourage their team to improve their analytical and logical abilities. Common issues in companies can be exploding data or changing technology, or financial management.

Did you know? Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in problem solving!

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Problem solving scenarios

Many problem solving scenarios occur at work. The basis to solve any problem is to evaluate and arrive at a solution. Analytical skill or problem solving ability is a skill many employers evaluate while hiring candidates.

Strong problem solving skills can be an asset to any organization. Organizations organize problem and solution activities to improve the problem solving abilities in the workplace.

1. Decision making games

Businesses are looking for new and innovative ways to stimulate their staff. Decision making games help employees to learn new skills and work effectively as a team. Decision making activities help to improve the creative problem solving and decision-making skills of the team. Here are some best Decision-making games,

1. Dumb Idea first – This game gives a hypothetical problem that could occur in your company. Ask each manager to think of the dumbest solution to the problem. After compiling the list of the ideas, the team reviews them.

You have a brainstorming session to make the “dumb ideas” feasible. This problem solving exercise underlines the importance of out-of-box thinking.

Benefits: Decision-making skill

Time duration: 10 to 15 minutes

Team size: 2 to more team managers

Material: Paper and pencil

2. Egg Drop Idea – The objective of the game is to build a container to protect the egg when dropped from a specified height using the material provided. Each team nominates a presenter who explains why the egg will survive the fall.

Once they have presented the idea, the team drops the egg to check if the idea has worked. Egg drop pyramid activities like the marshmallow challenge help teams to think on their feet.

Benefit: Decision-making skill and is a top problem solving skill example

Time duration: 15 – 30 minutes

Team size: 6 or more

Material: A cartoon of eggs, aprons to protect clothes, material for packing (cardboard, tape, elastics, plastic straws, etc.), material to clean up.


  • Every team gets an egg and should choose from the building materials. 
  • Grant everyone 20-30 minutes to build an egg carrier and guard against breaking. 
  • Remove each egg carrier from a ledge (that is, over a balcony) to see which carrier prevents it from cracking. 
  • If several eggs survive, continue to heighten until only one egg remains.

3. Dog, Rice, and Chicken – The dog, rice, and chicken game can be fun decision-making activities for adults. In this game, one team member plays the farmer, and the other team members are villagers who advise him. The farmer has to take three items chicken, dog, and rice across the river by boat.

There are the following constraints:- only one item can be carried on the boat. He cannot leave the chicken and dog alone because the dog will eat the chicken. He cannot leave the chicken alone with the rice because the chicken will eat the rice grains.

Benefit: creative problem solving examples that are applicable at work.

Time duration: 10-15 minutes.

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2. Teambuilding puzzle

Team building exercises are fun and creative ways to get your team to work together and improve problem solving skills.

1. Lost at Sea – In this game, you and your friends have chattered a yacht to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. Since you do not have any navigation experience, you hire a captain and a two-person crew. Unfortunately, the crew and captain die when a fire breaks out on the yacht.

The yacht is severally damaged and is sinking. You and your friends have managed to save 15 items and a lifeboat. Your task is to rank the 15 items while you are waiting to be rescued. The activity lost at sea team building underlines the importance of problem solving skills in the workplace.

Benefits: Team building exercise and interaction

Time duration: 30 to 40 minutes

Team size: 4 to 6

Material: Lost in sea ranking for interaction chart for each member

2. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower – The marshmallow team-building activities have the goal of building the tallest tower as quickly as possible. To make the task more challenging the marshmallow is placed at the top of the tower. This is a fun puzzle activity for team building.

Benefit: Teambuilding puzzle

Time duration: 30 minutes

Material required: 20 sticks on raw uncooked spaghetti, a marshmallow, masking thread, and yarn of thread.

3. Go for Gold – This is an example of a marshmallow challenge similar to activities. The objective of this exercise is to create a structure using pipes, rubber tubing, and cardboard to carry a marble from point A to point B using gravity.

Benefit: team building problem solving scenario examples

Team size: Minimum 6 persons

Material required: Each member has different material

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3. Work Problem Solving

Work problem solving activities help to use the skills you used in problem solving activities in your workplace.

1. Create your own – this game aims to create a brand new problem solving activity for the organization. The team can brainstorm for 1 hour. After one hour each team has to give a presentation about their activity outlining the key benefits.

Benefit: Understanding the problem solving process. Build creativity, improve negotiation, and Decision-making skills

  • When the participants arrive, you declare that they will create an original problem solving activity on their own, rather than spending an hour on an existing problem solving team-building exercise. 
  • Divide members into teams and encourage them to develop a new problem solving team-building exercise that will fit well with the organization. The activity should not be one they have engaged in or heard of before.
  • Every team has to show their new activity to everyone else after an hour and outline the main benefits.

2. Shrinking Vessel – make a shape on the floor using a rope where all the team members can fit. Reduce the size every 10 -15 minutes. The real challenge for the team is figuring out how to work together and keep everyone together.

Benefits: Adaptability and cognitive diversity

Material: Rope and large room

  • Place on the floor a big circle of rope. Position your whole team inside the circle. 
  • Lessen the circle size steadily. When it gets smaller, advise the team to keep the entire team inside the circle. Nobody must move out of the loop. See how small you can make the area until it cannot remain inside.

3. Legoman – the team is divided into groups of two or more people. Select an impartial individual who will make a structure in 10 minutes. Each team will compete to recreate it in fifteen minutes. Only one person is allowed to see the structure. They need to communicate vital parameters like color, shape, and size.

Benefits: Communication

Tools: Lego

4. What Would X Do – This problem solving activity stimulates teams to think of new ideas.

  • Benefits: Instant problem solving
  • Time Duration: 10-15 minutes
  • Materials Required: N/A
  • Let every team pretend to be someone famous. 
  • Every team needs to address the issue as if they were a famous person. Which are the choices they would consider? How will they do this? 
  • It helps all to consider options they may not have initially thought of.

Tip: Before you decide, a problem is worth solving, weigh the risks of solving it versus not solving it. 

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4. Team building riddles

Team building riddles are a great way to show the team group problem solving is usually more effective.

1. Barter puzzle – the team is broken into groups. Give each team a different jigsaw puzzle to solve. The groups have to complete the puzzle at the same time. The twist in the game is that some pieces of their puzzle belong to other puzzles.

The goal is to complete the puzzle before the other teams. Each group has to come with their method to convince other teams to handover the pieces they need, either by bartering pieces or donating time to the other teams. This puzzle piece team-building activity helps teams to collaborate.

Benefit: Team building and negotiating.

Material: Jigsaw puzzle for each team

Time: 30 minutes

2. Scavenger Hunt – in this game, each team has a list of the article to locate and bring back. The goal of the game is to finish the assigned list first. In the scavenger hunt, the team has a time limit to make the game more challenging. You have the flexibility of having the hunt outside or within the premises. The team-building puzzle game helps the team to look for creative solutions.

3. Escape – the goal is to solve clues and find the key to unlock the door in a limited time. Hide the key and a list of clues around the room. The team has 30 to 60 minutes to figure out the clues and unlock the door.

Benefit: Team building exercise

Material: Rope, key, lockable room, 5 to 10 puzzles

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5. Work together problems

Work together on problems helps to underline the need to collaborate while solving issues at work. Group challenge activities help the team work well together.

1. Bonding belt – each group is divided into 5 to 6 participants, who are bound together with rope or tape so that their movements are limited. The team has to reach from point A to point B, and the time is recorded. The teams collaborate to beat their previous score.

Benefits: Helps the team to collaborate and skills for problem solving scenario/

Time: 20 to 30 minutes

Material: Cling film, belt, or rope

2. Scramble puzzle – the team members with blindfolds sit in a circle with the puzzle. The teammate without the blindfold sits outside the circle, with their back to the group. The blindfolded group tries to assemble the pieces of the puzzle. The outsider who has the same puzzle gives the team instructions to solve it.

Benefits: trust, leadership, and communication

Material: Preschool-level puzzles and blindfolds.

3. Flip it over – this is a classic work-together problem. In this game, 6 to 8 participants stand together on a blanket/towel/tarp. The challenge is to flip over the blanket or reverse it. The rule is that none of the participants can leave the blanket.

Benefit: Work together exercise

Duration: 30 minutes

Material: Blanket

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6. Team building survival games

Team building survival games helps to fine-tune problem solving scenarios that may occur at work. The activities encourage creative problem solving and decision making.

1. Stranded – Stranded helps in building effective communication. In this setting, the team is stranded in an office. The rooms will be locked, and doors and windows cannot be broken down. The team is asked to make a list of 10 items that they need to survive.

They need to rank items in the order of their importance. The team has to agree on the items and the order. Stranded is one of several popular survival team-building exercises.

Benefit: Team building and Decision-making exercises

  • Your team is stuck inside the building. Doors are closed, so there is no option to kick down the doors or smash the windows.
  • Grant the team 30 minutes to determine what ten things they need to thrive in the office and list them in order of importance.
  • The goal of the game is to get everyone to agree in 30 minutes about the ten things and their ranking.

2. Minefield – you randomly place items around the room or hallway and there is no clear path from one end of the room to another. The team is divided into pairs. One team member is blindfolded, and the other team member is the guide.

The guide navigates the blindfolded person across the minefield. The two partners cannot touch. This survival team-building activity underlines the need for clear communication.

Benefits: Communication and collaborative problem solving

Duration: 10-15 minutes

Material: Blindfold, empty room or hallway, and collection of random items.

3. Frostbite – in this survival scenario team-building exercise the team is trapped in Siberia. Each team has to elect a team captain. The team has to build a storm shelter with the material provided.

The twist in the game is the team captains cannot help physically since they have frostbite. Other team members are suffering snow blindness and are blindfolded. The electric fan will be turned on in 30 minutes to see if the shelter built will survive the storm.

Benefit: Leadership, skills action plan, and team building survival games

Team size: 4 to 5 members

Material: An electric fan, blindfold, simple building materials like cardboard paper, rubber bands, toothpicks, masking tape, straws, sticky notes, etc.

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7. Group decision making games

Group decision making games help encourage creative problem solving and decision making at work. Here is a bunch of group decision making games

1. Reverse Pyramid – the team members stand in a pyramid shape. The next step is to flip the base and apex of the pyramid. The limiting factor in only three persons can move.

Benefits: Group Decision-making and collaboration

2. Tower of Hanoi – in this game, there are three towers/posts/rods with 5 or more discs arranged conical shape with the smallest shape at the top. The objective of the game is to move the entire stack to another location retaining the shape. Some conditions of the games are only one disc can be moved at a time. Only the top disc can be moved. Another rule of the game is larger disc cannot be put on a smaller disc.

Benefits: This team-building exercise helps problem solving within the participants.

3. Human Knot – the team stands in a circle every person holds hands with a person not standing next to them. When everyone is cross-connected, the aim is to untangle the structure without letting go of anybody’s hand.

Benefit: group problem solving

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8. Funny problem solving games

We need to solve problems for personal and professional lives. Funny problem solving exercises are a light way. Funny problem solving can help reduce stress levels.

1. Pencil drop – in the pencil drop challenge, one end of the pencil is tied to a pencil and the other is tied around the waist of a team member. The other team member puts the pencil into the bottle placed below. The participants are not allowed to use their hands.

Benefit: Team bonding

Team size: 2 members each

Material: Some pencil and bottle

2. Blind drawing – this game requires two players to sit back to back. One participant describes an image in front of them without giving stating anything obvious. The other participant needs to draw it using the description. The outcome can be fun.

3. Be the character – in this activity, you pretend to be an imaginary character while trying to solve a problem. This game gives a unique perspective on your solution and whether the solution is feasible for other members.

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9. Group problem solving activities for adults

Group problem solving activities are very efficient, especially for adults. These can be used in any setting to enhance problem solving skills. 

1. Human Knots

  • Benefits: Communication skills, collaboration
  • Time Duration: 10 – 15 minutes.

This is one of the most straightforward group problem solving activities that can be done with any group. It facilitates communication and critical thinking in the face of a challenging and complex question. Various group members will possibly suggest a variety of solutions, and each will need to be reviewed and adopted by the organization as a whole.

  • Have the group stand in a small circle (make several circles when you are a larger group). Every person in the loop will hold the hands of 2 other people who are not directly next to them. That would make a messy crossed arms knot.
  • Ask the group to disentangle themselves without moving their hands at any point in time. They may be unable to disentangle completely to form a circle again. Still, they would have begun to work together to solve the problem by the end of the activity.

2. Frostbite 

  • Benefits: Leadership, decision-making, trust, adaptability
  • Time Duration: 30 minutes.
  • Materials Required: An electric fan, blindfold, simple building materials like cardboard paper, rubber bands, toothpicks, masking tape, straws, sticky notes, etc.

Your group is trapped in the barren deserts of Siberia, and a sudden winter storm is approaching. You have to create a shelter with only the materials in hand that can survive the storm’s harsh winds. The leader of your expedition was afflicted with frostbite in both hands, sadly, and all the others experience severe snow blindness.

  • Divide the group into clusters of 4-5. Every group will have to elect a chief. 
  • Group leaders are not allowed to use their hands to support the group in any way, and group members should be blindfolded during the exercise. 
  • The groups have 30 minutes to build a small tent structure that can withstand the wind from the fan’s highest location. 

3. Dumbest Idea First

  • Benefits: Critical thinking, creative problem solving, quick problem solving
  • Time Duration: 15 – 20 minutes
  • Materials Required: Pen or pencil, a piece of paper.

Dumbest Idea First is one of the most creative problem solving activities for groups. This can encourage your creativity by thinking out of the box and lead you to ideas that would typically sound too insane to work. You can broaden the possibilities by looking at these crazy solutions first, and find potential alternatives that might not be as obvious.

  • Present your team with a question. It could be a real-world dilemma facing the group, or it could be a created scenario. For example, your company attempts to beat a rival to win a high-paying customer contract, but the customer bends to your competitors. You have a short period before they make the final decision to change their mind.
  • With the given question, advise your group to come up with the dumbest ideas to tackle the issue. Anything can be written down. 
  • After each person has put forward a few ideas, go through the list, and analyze each plan to see which are the most feasible. List them from the highest level of feasibility to the lowest level.  

4. Wool Web 

  • Benefits: Leadership, communication
  • Time Duration: 30 minutes
  • Materials Required: Some balls of yarn.

As hard as replicating the magnitude of the real-world problems is, that is no excuse not to try! Wool web creates a dilemma that appears complicated at first, but groups will learn to break down complicated challenges into solvable problems one move at a time.

This happens by using the right strategy and working together. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most stimulating problem solving activities for adults.

  • Split the group into similarly large teams. Every time, it receives a yarn ball. 
  • Tell each team to turn the yarn ball into a vast web. Give them around 5-10 minutes to do this. When done, rotate all the teams so that every team is on a yarn web they have not set up. 
  • Every group must choose one person to untangle the web. That individual would be blindfolded and be guided by the rest of the team on how to unwind the web using only verbal instructions. The first team to achieve it wins the game.

5. Tallest Tower 

  • Benefits: Creative thinking, collaboration
  • Materials Required: 1 bag of marshmallows, one packet of uncooked spaghetti.

Simple building projects can help group members create strategies to overcome box issues. Tallest Tower is another one of the most creative problem solving activities. Groups will compete with only two materials to make the tallest tower in a fixed period.

  • Divide the group into two, which have an equal number of players. Provide 20 – 30 uncooked spaghetti noodles and 3-4 marshmallows to every team. 
  • Groups must compete in the provided period to build the tallest tower using only the materials supplied. A marshmallow has to be set at the top of the tower.

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10. Problem solving activities for students

Below is a bunch of problem solving activities for students and kids,

1. Brainstorm Bonanza – Brainstorm Bonanza is one of the best problem solving activities for students. As a teacher, making your students create lists relevant to something you are teaching at the moment can be a fantastic way to help them expand their knowledge of a subject when learning to solve problems.

  • Benefits: Problem solving
  • Materials Required: Pen and paper

1. If you are discussing a real, current, or fictional occurrence that did not work out well, let your students imagine ways that the protagonist or participants might have produced a better, more favorable result.

2. They can brainstorm independently or in groups. 

2. Clue Me In – this is one of the most enjoyable problem solving games. It facilitates logical thinking and cognitive development.

  • Benefits: Cognitive development, logical thinking
  • Time Duration: 20 minutes
  • Materials Required: A bag, clues, items as necessary
  • Select a collection of things relating to a specific occupation, social phenomenon, historical incident, object, etc.
  • Assemble individual objects (or pictures of things) commonly linked to the target response.
  • Place all of them in a bag (five-10 clues ought to be enough).
  • Then, have a student reach into the bag and take out clues one by one.
  • Select a minimum number of clues to draw before they make their first guess (two-three).
  • After that, the student should guess, pulling each clue until they think it is right.
  • See how quickly the student can solve the riddle.

3. Survivor Scenario – Create a hypothetical situation that allows students to think creatively to make it through. One example may be being stuck on an island, realizing that three days of help would not come.

The community has a small amount of food and water and has to establish shelter from the island’s objects. This would undoubtedly be one of the fascinating problem solving activities for students.

  • Benefits: Logical thinking, collaboration
  • Encourage working together as a group.
  • Listen to each student who has an idea about making it safe and secure across the three days.

4. Moral Dilemmas – Create several potential moral dilemmas that your students can face in life, write down, and place each object in a bowl or container. These things may include items like, “I’ve seen a good friend of mine shoplifting. What is it that I would do?” or “The cashier gave me an additional $1.50 in change after I purchased candy from the shop. What is it that I would do?”

  • Benefits: Logical thinking
  • Time Duration: 5 minutes per student
  • Materials Required: Container, bits of paper with moral dilemmas written
  • Ask every student to draw an item from the bag one after the other and read it aloud. 
  • They must then tell the class the response on the spot as to how they would handle the situation.

5. Problem solving box – this is an activity that will help on both cognitive and emotional levels for students. 

  • Benefits: Logical thinking, decision making
  • Materials Required: Box, paper, pen
  • Have your students design and decorate a medium-sized box with a top slot. Name it as the “Problem Solving Box.”
  • Invite students to write down anonymously and apply any concerns or problems they may have at school or at home, which they do not appear to be able to work out on their own.
  • Let a student draw one of the things from the box once or twice a week, and read it aloud.
  • Finally, as a group, let the class work out the best way students can approach the problem and eventually solve it.

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11. Problem solving activities for kids

Below is a bunch of problem solving activities for kids,

1. Puzzle-solving – Solving puzzles is one of the best problem solving activities for kids out there. Essentially, every puzzle is a big collection of muddled-up items to figure out and bring back together again.

Kids must be introduced to puzzles with regularity. These are useful for improving skills in reasoning. The best kinds to choose from are wooden puzzles with a wooden frame. They last long, and the structure serves as the foundation to direct children during construction. 

  • Benefits: Reasoning skills
  • Time Duration: Varies
  • Materials Required: Puzzles according to the age level


  • Show the kids a demo of how a particular puzzle can be solved. 
  • Then, let them choose a puzzle of their liking from the available choices. 
  • Ask them to solve their chosen puzzles. 

2. Memory Games – Memory games will improve memory and attention to detail for your child. 

  • Benefits: Attention to detail
  • Materials Required: Matching pairs of images
  • Using matching pairs of images and turn them all face down, shuffled, on a table.
  • Take turns to pick any two cards, and face them on the table.
  • You hold the cards if you turn over a similar pair, and if the pair does not match, turn the cards over before it is your turn to try again. 
  • A teacher/parent must encourage the kids to concentrate on where the pictures are, and seek to find a matching pair on each turn.

3. Building games – Construction toys like building blocks, wooden blocks, or legos should be a staple in a kid’s home every day. Playing with them is one of the most fun problem solving activities for kids. Anything that your child builds is a challenge as it involves thinking about what to create and how to put together the parts to get a workable and usable design. 

  • Benefits: Decision making
  • Materials Required: Construction toys.

1. Let your child build a challenge openly and often, and ask him/her to build a particular structure, with conditions. For instance:

  • Create two towers with a bridge that connects them.  
  • Create a creature that stands alone and has three arms.

2. Observe how your child uses trial-and-error before finding a way to bring the idea into motion.

4. Tic-Tac-Toe – this is an excellent game for teaching decision-making skills. It encourages kids to think before they act and weigh the potential consequences. 

  • Materials Required: Pencil, paper
  • Draw a simple tic-tac-toe table on paper or chalkboard.
  • Take turns to add a nought or a cross to the table to see who is the first to make a line of three.
  • Your kid will likely catch on in no time before placing their symbol and start thinking carefully.
  • Coloured counters or different items can be used to play this game as well.

5. Building a Maze – This activity is fun and fits for any age. It will also be a lot more enjoyable than doing a maze in an activity book, particularly for younger kids. 

  • Materials Required: Chalk
  • Draw a big maze with jumbo chalk on the paving. Make passages, including one or two, which end in an impasse. Teach your kid how to get out of it.  
  • Make the maze more complicated and add more dead-end passages as your child gets better at figuring out a path and finding the way out.

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What is a problem solving process?

When a team or person faces an issue or obstacle, it can be tempting to quickly track a potential solution and set up a fast fix. This could happen without understanding the complexity of the problem and pursuing a systematic approach to seeking a solution.

The attempts to address issues or obstacles may become unstructured and frustrating without a consistent method. End-to-end processes for problem solving offer a mechanism for a community to tackle any size or nature, and see results. Problem solving activities for adults, kids, and students can help make the problem solving process very useful.

Army problem solving process

There are 7 steps to problem solving army model,

  • Recognize and define the problem – The first step army problem solving process is defining the problem precisely and determining the root cause.
  • Gather facts and make assumptions – You need to gather all information you have at your disposal. Common resources for information may be documentation and policies. Assumptions are unsubstantiated facts. Use facts rather than assumptions when you need to analyze the scope of the problem.
  • Generate alternatives – One of the key steps in military problem solving is finding ways to solve the problem. Ideally, it best to have multiple approaches to solve the problem. Take input from peers and subordinates if possible.
  • Analyze possible solutions – Analyze each possible solution with advantages and disadvantages. You evaluate each solution according to screening and feasibility criteria. Reject the solution when it fails in the screening process.
  • Compare Alternatives – Another crucial step in the army problem solving model is to evaluate alternatives for cost and benefits. You need to consider your experience and immediate future. Tabulating each solution with the pros and cons will help clear the picture.
  • Make an executive your decision – Make a decision and prepare an action plan, and put it in motion.
  • Assess the result – You need to monitor the implementation of the plan and modify it if required. Establishing critical steps and milestones will help to ensure success.

Army problem solving games

  • Capture the flag – the game helps in team building and army problem solving. Two teams compete against one another to retrieve a flag or object from the opposing team camp base and get into their camp base. This game is flexible, and ground rules need to be set before the game starts.
  • Paintball – Paintball is a fun military problem solving activity. You can have many modifications and variations of the paintball game. The aim is to fire paint pellets at the opposing team. Laser tag is another variation of the game.
  • Firing blind – Firing blind is a game where each team has a large number of water balloons. At the other end of the field has to hit the target is protected by a tarp from direct firing. The team has to hit the target that is covered. One team member acts as the observer and directs the team to hit the target with the water balloons.

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Obstacles to problem solving

Problem solving can take time and patience, one of the best ways to solve any problem is pausing and evaluating the problem. Obstacles to problem solving are,

  • Misdiagnosis – Misdiagnosis is a common problem can occur due to preconceived idea, biases or judgments. Defining and having a concrete understanding of the problem is the first step in the problem solving activity. This can be difficult. If you are not careful, you may spend your time and resources solving the wrong problem and finding the wrong solution.
  • Communication bias – Communication barriers are caused when we are unable to explain the problem to the team, or presuming we know more than everyone else. Everyone on the team must be on the same page. You may need to acknowledge you have a limited understanding of the problem.
  • Solution bias – A common obstacle in problem solving is thinking there may be a universal solution or thinking the same solution can solve multiple problems. You need to evaluate a problem independently than try to force-fit a solution that worked previously.
  • Cognitive bias – One of the barriers to finding an effective solution is cognitive bias, or the tendency to jump to conclusions. To find solutions fast firms often end up with an irrelevant solution. This may cause more problems down the line.
  • Lack of empathy – Every problem is associated with human emotions or abilities. It is important to identify and recognize people affected by the problem or it will be difficult to find a solution that will solve help.

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Famous virtual problem solving software

Traditionally watercoolers chat is a great way to bring people together and help team members interact with one another. A virtual water cooler has a similar concept where people interact in a similar virtual setting or a dedicated virtual room. It allows remote teams to bond. Software that offers virtual water coolers services,

  • unremot.com – provides users with a unique water cooler experience. The app provides unique solutions to remote teams.
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Informal Whatsapp group
  • Donut over slack channels

online games to improve problem solving skills

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Problem Solving Games for Students

Problem-solving is an important skill to learn and work at. Every problem has a solution and there are skills you can practice in order to come to those solutions easily and quickly. Through critical thinking, logic, and consideration, you’ll be able to solve many problems every day. Use this collection of problem-solving links to help you practice your problem-solving skills specific to reading, math, puzzles, and more.

General Problem Solving

  • Knowledge Adventure  – Pick an exciting game that builds science, math, or word skills for students in preschool through sixth grade.
  • Kaeru Jump  – Can you make all the stones disappear by helping the frog hop on each one?
  • FunBrain Junior  – Build your brainpower while you play Beach Ball Balance, Beaker Bonanza, Deep Letter Dive, and lots of other fun games.
  • Smarty Games  – Choose from a variety of fun, educational games that challenge kids’ math, logic, and reading skills.
  • Brain Den  – Kids can challenge themselves to solve logic riddles, matchstick puzzles, and more.
  • Topmarks Reading and Math Games  – Kids ages 3-14 can choose from a variety of reading and math games that build their problem solving skills as they count sea creatures, spice up a scary story with adjectives, match animals to their sounds, and more.

Puzzles and Patterns

  • Pattern Quest  – Are you ready for a challenge? Put on your thinking cap and find the secret car pattern, one tricky clue at a time!
  • Shape Sequences  – Figure out which shape completes the pattern in this interactive, colorful game with fun sounds and animations.
  • Pattern Matcher  – Look at the silly pictures to discover their repeating patterns!
  • Memorize Patterns  – Memorize each pattern, but be quick! It’s your job to repeat it when it disappears.
  • Pattern Games  – Kids can learn to recognize patterns as they play a number sequence game or help a dog cross the pattern bridge.

Math Problems and Games

  • Fast Math in Outer Space  – You can solve math problems to shoot down enemy ships and win the space battle.
  • Math Playground  – Choose your math skill level from first through sixth grade and then race your pony in the Division Derby, compete in the Math Millionaire game show, play with the animals of Fraction Forest, and more!
  • Math Zone  – Want to learn about number lines with Cake Monster or win in MathCar Racing? Check out the Math Zone!
  • Interactive Math Games  – Improve your math skills with Monkey Drive, practice multiplication in Fruit Splat, or try the Animal Rescue Number Line.
  • The Kidz Page  – Try the Math Race or solve the Pirate Picture Math Puzzle!

Reading Games

  • Alphabetter  – Can you match each letter to the word it begins in this colorful, animated game?
  • English Language Arts Games  – Young readers with a range of ability levels can try the School Bus Spelling Game or play Sentence Spinner to add goofy adjectives to sentences.
  • Greek Word Roots  – Play the It’s Greek to Me game to strengthen your knowledge of Greek word roots as you represent your country in the Olympic Games.
  • Starfall  – Would you like to practice forming words and sentences while hearing them spoken aloud? Check out the cute, animated reading games at Starfall!
  • Teach Your Monster to Read  – Kids preschool age and beyond will love this engaging series of games that build reading skills. Whether children are learning letters and sounds or reading sentences, Teach Your Monster to Read can help them grow and thrive.
  • ABC Countdown  – Can you help the monkey practice his alphabet by picking coconuts in the right order?
  • Room Recess  – Use context clues to help Sir Readalot make his way through the castle or practice letter sounds with fun, animated characters.

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The 6 Best Apps to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

Want to improve your problem-solving skills and become more solution-oriented in your daily routine? Here are some apps to try.

Your ability to solve problems is a valuable skill you cannot do without if you want to succeed in your career, business, and life. While most people learn to solve problems primarily through exposure to challenging situations and having to find solutions almost immediately, others don't.

As such, not everyone is skilled at effective problem-solving. However, there is an easy way to improve your problem-solving skills using technology. Today, there are several fun ways to do so, including playing brain games on your mobile. Here are six game apps you can use to develop problem-solving skills while having fun.

1. Lumosity

Lumosity is a web app that helps you improve your mental skills. It is programmed with activities that help people improve their memory, flexibility, rate of processing information, and concentration levels. Thus, Lumosity is a great tool to help you develop problem-solving capabilities.

Lumosity was launched in 2007 and had over 70 million users as of January 2015. The app is available in English, French, Spanish, and German.

Download : Lumosity for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

Happify is a company that works to enhance personal, organizational, and healthcare effectiveness by improving the emotional health of its users.

The Happify app incorporates scientific experiments into gaming activities designed to improve resilience and mindfulness and tackle health conditions like mood disorders, depression, anxiety, severe pain, and insomnia. Thus, it is a great healthcare software platform for improving your mental and physical conditions.

Download : Happify for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

Launched by Elevate Labs in 2014, Elevate is a brain game app that focuses on improving its users' reading, writing, speaking, listening, and math skills. It is also one of the best android apps to help you solve math problems .

Seeing you already possess the skills mentioned above, you may wonder, is the Elevate brain training app worth your time ? The truth is, there is always room for improvement, hence, the need for you to keep developing these skills. And, as you pass each assessment in the training sessions, the difficulty level increases. This way, you can test whether your abilities are basic or strong.

Download : Elevate for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

4. Neuronation

Neuronation is a cognitive training site and app that was made public in 2011. Since then, over 10 million people have used the app. The Neuronation app focuses on improving users' cognitive abilities, such as thinking, learning, understanding, and remembering, through its specialized training activities in the program.

Although native to Germany, the app is available in over eight languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and German. Additionally, the app enjoys widespread use, especially among German healthcare practitioners.

Download: Neuronation for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

The Peak brain training app is designed to correct cognitive disorders with the help of short, interactive games. To get started on the Peak brain game app, you will be required to set goals on areas you want to improve, like mental processing, emotional strength, linguistic skills, recollection, concentration levels, and problem-solving.

Once you complete this stage, a virtual coach will be assigned to guide you through the program, and you will be given an assessment. Immediately after you finish each assessment, you will receive feedback based on your result.

You can start using the app for free with the basic version, but it has a limited number of daily exercises that are randomly selected. On the other hand, with the paid version, Peak Pro, you enjoy unlimited access to over 40+ exercises, alongside detailed feedback and personalized training sessions.

Download : Peak for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

6. New York Times Crossword

The New York Times Crossword is a daily puzzle published by the renowned New York Times magazine on their website and mobile apps. The New York Times Crossword puzzle dates back to 1942. The first puzzle was published on Sunday, 15 February 1942.

Several freelance puzzle developers generate the puzzle. The puzzle gets tougher as each day goes by in a week, so the simplest puzzles are on Mondays, and the hardest are on Saturdays. Sunday's crossword puzzle is a 21×21 square matrix, whereas the daily crossword puzzle is a 15×15 square matrix. The crossword and other free puzzle games greatly improve critical thinking, learning, and reasoning abilities.

Download : New York Times Crossword for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

Have Fun While Improving Your Problem-solving Skills

Developing cognitive abilities, emotional well-being, and problem-solving skills are no longer challenging. Thanks to these brain game apps, you can develop and improve your mental and emotional abilities more easily, faster, and while having fun.

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14 Best Collaboration Games & Activities for Teams

Here is our list of the best collaboration games and activities.

Collaboration games and activities are interactive events where players work together to solve a task and achieve a common goal. Examples include Build A Bridge, Improv Olympics, and Deserted Island. The purpose of these activities is to help players learn the value of cooperation and constructive communication, both of which are essential for a team’s success.

Collaboration games and activities are similar to virtual collaboration activities . These exercises build collaboration skills and improve team cooperation .


This list includes:

  • collaboration games for students
  • collaboration games for work
  • team collaboration games
  • collaboration activities
  • virtual collaboration games

Let’s get started!

Collaboration games for work

Collaboration games and activities are great for engaging employees in fun activities while promoting teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills in the workplace. Here is our list of some of the best games that promote workplace collaboration.

1. Toxic Waste

Toxic Waste is a fun and interactive game for employees to encourage collaboration and problem-solving skills.

Here is how to play the game:

  • Divide the group into small teams of three.
  • Give each team a bucket of water filled with various small objects representing radioactive waste, such as tennis balls, blocks, and clips.
  • Place a smaller bucket on a table a few feet away from each team.
  • Participants must only use a rope with a square knot to transfer radioactive waste from the larger bucket into the smaller one.
  • The team that completes the task first, or transfers the most objects into the smaller bucket in a given time frame, wins the game.

You can make the game unique by changing the materials or adding navigation obstacles. This game allows employees to work together, communicate effectively, and build problem-solving skills through collaboration.

2. Deserted Island

Deserted Island is an interactive game that promotes teamwork and creativity in the workplace.

  • Divide participants into teams of three to five.
  • Give teams pens and paper for note-taking.
  • Have members sit in groups and display a deserted island map on the board or projector.
  • Set the stage by telling participants they are stranded on a deserted island and have limited resources. The available resources are a water purifier, food supplies, a radio, and a compass.
  • Allow some time for each team to brainstorm and discuss ideas on how to use the available resources to survive and escape.
  • After the brainstorming session, each team should present its plan to the rest of the group.
  • Ask the teams to explain how they will use the available resources, what obstacles they anticipate, and how they plan to overcome them.
  • After all the teams have presented, have a group discussion to evaluate the different plans, identify the strengths and weaknesses of each plan, and come up with a final strategy that incorporates the best ideas from each team.

By playing Deserted Island, your team will learn valuable lessons about communication, problem-solving, and the importance of workplace collaboration.

3. Memory Wall

Memory Wall is an engaging activity that encourages members to share positive experiences at work.

Here is how to conduct the activity:

  • Use a whiteboard or a separate wall in the office.
  • Make three or more categories for themes and write them on the board or wall. Some category examples are traveling at work, office parties, the first day at the office, and payday.
  • Split employees into pairs.
  • Then, provide each pair with a sticky note.
  • Members can choose any category, write a story associated with it, and paste it under the category on the board or wall. The story will be a combination of the shared experiences of both partners.
  • Participants can also write their stories on more than one theme.
  • In the end, ask all members to look at the memory wall.

You can also ask participants to share their stories and shared experiences by coming on the stage and speaking out loud. As members walk by the memory wall, they will read funny and inspiring stories of their fellows, creating a positive sentiment.

4. Collaborative Puzzle

Solving a puzzle can be a great way for teams to work together and improve communication and problem-solving skills.

Here is how to host the activity:

  • Split players into teams.
  • Give a puzzle to each team. You can also look for one online.
  • Set a timer for 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the difficulty of your puzzle.
  • Then, players will work in teams to solve the puzzle while communicating and collaborating to develop solutions.
  • The team that completes the puzzle in the least amount of time wins.

Working in groups to solve the puzzle will ensure employee communication, boosting their confidence and promoting camaraderie.

Team collaboration games

Team collaboration games help members develop their communication skills, improve their ability to work together, and enhance their problem-solving abilities. Here is our list of some of the best games that encourage team collaboration.

5. The Amazing Race

The Amazing Race is a popular game that requires players to work together to complete various tasks and challenges.

Here is how to play:

  • Choose teams, and assign team leaders.
  • Create a list of challenges that require teams to solve puzzles, perform physical tasks, or navigate obstacles.
  • Provide each team with clues that lead them to solve each challenge.
  • Start the race, and give teams a set amount of time to complete as many challenges as possible.
  • Encourage teams to communicate frequently and work together.
  • Award points for completing each challenge, with bonus points for teams that finish first or complete more difficult challenges.

The Amazing Race is a fun and engaging way to promote teamwork and communication within a group.

Check out this list of DIY Amazing Race ideas .

6. Recycled Art Showdown

The Recycled Art Showdown is an exciting and creative activity to ensure team building.

  • Divide participants into teams.
  • Provide each group with recycled materials like paper, plastic, and cardboard.
  • Each team has to create a unique and creative art piece in the given time. The objective is to use as many of the provided materials as possible.
  • Once the time is up, each team presents its creation to the others.
  • Judge the art pieces based on creativity, teamwork, and the use of the provided materials.
  • The team with the highest score wins.

This game is an excellent way to promote teamwork and creativity while raising awareness about reusing and recycling materials.

7. Improv Olympics

Improv Olympics is a team collaboration game that can help different teams in an organization come together and work in a fun, interactive, and creative way.

Here are the steps to play the game:

  • Divide participants into different teams.
  • Assign a leader to direct the team’s performance.
  • Provide a topic to make a story or skit on. You can also provide a product and ask participants to promote it.
  • The team will develop a skit or performance that showcases their creativity and improvisational skills.
  • Set a time limit for each performance.
  • ​The goal is to earn points from the judges based on creativity, collaboration, and effective improvisation.
  • The team with the best score will win.

Playing Improv Olympics encourages collaboration among team members and improves creativity, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Here is a list of improv games .

Virtual collaboration games

Virtual collaboration games are online activities that improve remote teams’ communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Here is our list of some of the best interactive collaboration games to play online.

8. Scattergories

Scattergories is a fun game that members can play on Zoom.

Here are the steps to play:

  • Invite your friends and family to join a Zoom call.
  • Share your screen, and navigate to a virtual Scattergories generator tool. Swellgarfo is a great example.
  • The tool will randomly generate categories and provide a letter.
  • Players will fill out each category with words starting with the given letter in a separate chat.
  • After the timer runs out, players reveal their answers one by one.
  • Any matching answers do not receive points. Only unique answers will score points.
  • ​The player with the most points wins!

This game is an excellent tool for bringing remote teams closer and building stronger relationships while having fun.

Learn more about Swellgarfo .

9. Virtual Jeopardy

Playing Virtual Jeopardy is a fun way to build teamwork and knowledge within a group.

  • Choose a platform to host the virtual game, such as Zoom.
  • Create categories and questions based on topics specific to your work, such as company history, industry trends, or product knowledge. Include a range of difficulty levels, and consider incorporating multimedia elements like videos or images to keep the game exciting.
  • Next, divide your team into groups.
  • ​Let each team choose a category and difficulty level.
  • Ask the associated question, and set a time limit. Teams can also discuss answers in breakout rooms.
  • ​If teams answer correctly, then award points.
  • ​If teams answer incorrectly, then the opposing teams get a chance to steal.
  • Play continues until teams answer all available questions.
  • Keep track of scores, and have a grand prize for the winning team at the end of the game.

You can add unique questions or modify existing rules to create a customized game version. Virtual Jeopardy is a great way to break up the monotony of team meetings or as a fun group activity after work hours.

You can also play Virtual Jeopardy by downloading the app. The app will provide categories and questions, making it easier to host the game.

Learn more about Virtual Jeopardy .

10. Think-Pair-Repair

Think-Pair-Repair is a group learning activity that encourages discussions and improves problem-solving skills.

  • Invite players to a Zoom call, and make teams.
  • Send teams to breakout rooms.
  • Assign a problem or scenario to each group to work on independently for a set period, typically five to ten minutes.
  • After the time is up, have the teams come back together in a virtual group setting to share their ideas and solutions.

Some examples of scenarios are:

  • You were assigned a task, but you delayed it and did not complete it on time. When the boss asks, how will you cope with the matter using your communication and problem-solving skills?
  • Your colleague made a minor mistake in the project, but they worked hard the whole day. After submitting the work, the coworker is ready to leave immediately. What will you do?
  • The company asks you to hire a new employee in your place since you are resigning. What skills would you look for, and what questions would you ask in the interview?

Asking such questions will boost participants’ problem-solving skills as they work in groups and provide unique and creative solutions.

Collaboration activities

Conducting collaboration games is an effective way to engage students and promote teamwork. These games help students develop stronger relationships with their peers and improve their academic performance. Here is our list of some of the best engaging student collaboration games.

11. Watch Your Steps

Watch Your Steps can help students learn teamwork and communication and enhance their problem-solving skills.

  • Create a minefield of objects that students have to navigate through.
  • Divide students into pairs, where one is blindfolded and the other acts as their guide.
  • The guide has to give verbal instructions to their partner on navigating through the minefield without touching any objects.
  • Encourage students to communicate and work together to navigate through the minefield.

You can also introduce variations to the game, such as adding time limits, increasing the number of obstacles, or changing the players’ roles after each round. You can play this game indoors or outdoors, and it is a great activity to build group trust and communication.

12. Build A Bridge Challenge

Build A Bridge is a challenging game that promotes teamwork and collaboration.

  • Divide the students into groups of five.
  • Provide materials for building a bridge. These materials could include wooden blocks, glue, and popsicle sticks.
  • The challenge is to work together to build a bridge that can support a certain weight while considering design, stability, and safety factors.
  • Students will communicate to share ideas and provide solutions.
  • At the end of the game, groups will present their bridges to the class and test them by putting weight on the bridge.

To make this challenge unique, you can change the type of materials or add restrictions to the design. Playing Build The Bridge can help students develop critical-thinking and collaboration skills for success in school and future careers.

13. Helium Stick

Helium Stick is a fun and engaging collaboration game that will challenge players to work together as a team.

  • Divide your group into teams of five to ten.
  • Provide each team with a long, thin rod or stick, such as a PVC pipe or a thin wooden dowel.
  • Ask each team to stand in a line beside each other with their hands outstretched and one finger out. For larger teams, you can make some group members stand opposite the others.
  • Place the stick horizontally onto their fingertips so all team members touch it.
  • Each team must work together to lower the stick to the ground.
  • The catch is that no one is allowed to let go of the stick. The stick will rise rather than go down as participants lift their fingers higher.
  • Encourage players to talk, strategize, and work together to find a solution. The players may need to adjust their hand position, pace, or finger strength to control and lower the stick smoothly.
  • The game will be over when the stick reaches the ground.

Helium Stick is a great collaboration game that promotes teamwork, problem-solving, and communication skills.

14. The Human Knot

The Human Knot is one of the best collaboration games for students.

  • Gather a group of students, and have them stand in a circle facing each other.
  • Have each student reach their right hand across the circle and grab another participant’s hand. The students cannot hold the hand of the player standing directly next to them.
  • Have each student reach their left hand across the circle and grab a different player’s hand.
  • The players will create a complex structure with hands in different directions.
  • As time starts, players will untangle themselves without breaking the hand-holding chain. Participants cannot let go of each other’s hands during the game.
  • The students can step over each other, duck under their arms, or twist their bodies in any direction to untangle the knot.
  • The game ends when the group has untangled themselves and formed a circle again.

You can make the game more unique by adding blindfolds or time limits. Playing The Human Knot game helps develop students’ collaboration skills while fostering teamwork and communication.

Learn more about how to do the human knot .

Collaborative games and activities have several benefits, including promoting teamwork, communication, problem-solving skills, and creativity among participants. These activities are essential for building trust and relationships among coworkers, especially in team-based work environments. However, defining clear objectives, providing clear instructions, and ensuring folks actively participate and contribute throughout the activity is essential. Proper facilitation can also ensure that participants benefit most from these activities.

In summary, collaborative games and activities can be a fun, effective way to improve teamwork and communication, but they require careful planning and execution to be successful.

Next up, check out these collaboration tools and this guide to collaboration .

FAQ: Collaboration games & activities

Here are answers to questions about collaboration games and activities.

What is the purpose of collaboration games and activities?

Collaboration games and activities create a sense of teamwork and encourage individuals to work together toward a common goal. Such games also enhance social interaction and help build relationships between team members. This aspect is particularly valuable in the workplace, where teamwork and collaboration are essential. Collaboration games and activities develop teamwork skills and foster an open mindset.

What are some good collaboration games?

Collaboration activities promote communication, cooperation, creative problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.

Here are some good collaboration games:

  • Memory Wall
  • Deserted Island
  • Amazing Race
  • Virtual Jeopardy

By participating in these games, individuals can learn how to recognize different work styles and develop strategies for working with different approaches.

What kind of activities encourage collaboration?

Collaboration games and activities serve multiple purposes, primarily cultivating teamwork and building social connections. Roleplay, competitive games, problem-solving activities, games in pairs, and creative-thinking games are examples of collaboration activities. These games and activities also improve communication skills.

Author avatar

Author: Grace He

People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com. Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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Playing these 6 video games could help improve your problem-solving skills

Jane McGonigal , a world-renowned designer of alternate-reality games who has a Ph.D. in performance studies, wants to change people's conception of video games as " just escapist, guilty pleasures."

" My number one goal in life is to see a game designer nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize," McGonigal writes on her website . 

She tells Business Insider she wants people to realize that games can be "powerful tools to improve our attention, our mood, our cognitive strengths, and our relationships."

And research is on her side. 

Studies suggest that mainstream games like "Call of Duty" may improve our cognitive abilities significantly more than games specifically designed to do so by designers like Luminosity.

To help spread the truth about common misconceptions, seven neuroscientists from around the world signed the document "A Consensus on the Brain Training Industry from the Scientific Community" in 2014 to say they "object to the claim" that brainteaser games can improve cognitive abilities, as no scientific evidence has been able to confirm such a claim. 

Even better for gamers, research from North Carolina State University and Florida State University suggests that mainstream games geared toward entertainment can help improve attention, spatial orientation, and problem-solving abilities.

In her book, " Super Better ," McGonigal writes that the researchers she talked to about this seeming contradiction offered a simple explanation: "Traditional video games are more complex and harder to master, and they require that the player learn a wider and more challenging range of skills and abilities."

If you want to have fun and stimulate your mind, McGonigal recommends playing one of these six games three times a week for about 20 minutes.

McGonigal says playing fast-paced games like "Call of Duty," a first-person shooter game, can help improve visual attention and spatial-intelligence skills, which can lead to better performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

online games to improve problem solving skills

Another fast-paced game, "Forza," a car-racing game, may help improve your ability to make accurate decisions under pressure.

online games to improve problem solving skills

Taking on the role of a criminal in a big city in "Grand Theft Auto" may help train you to process information faster and keep track of more information — up to three times the amount as nongamers, some studies suggest — in high-stress situations.

online games to improve problem solving skills

Strategic games like "StarCraft," a military-science-fiction game, can also improve the ability to solve imaginary and real-life problems, possibly because they teach users to both formulate and execute strategic plans.

online games to improve problem solving skills

Games that require strategic thinking, like science-fiction third-person-shooter game "Mass Effect," also test and refine your information-gathering skills.

online games to improve problem solving skills

Lastly, "thinking games" like "Final Fantasy," a fantasy-role-playing game, can help train you to evaluate your options faster and more accurately.

online games to improve problem solving skills

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How to Improve Problem Solving Skills

Last Updated: August 27, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Erin Conlon, PCC, JD . Erin Conlon is an Executive Life Coach, the Founder of Erin Conlon Coaching, and the host of the podcast "This is Not Advice." She specializes in aiding leaders and executives to thrive in their career and personal lives. In addition to her private coaching practice, she teaches and trains coaches and develops and revises training materials to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. She holds a BA in Communications and History and a JD from The University of Michigan. Erin is a Professional Certified Coach with The International Coaching Federation. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 94% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 224,228 times.

The ability to solve problems applies to more than just mathematics homework. Analytical thinking and problem-solving skills are a part of many jobs, ranging from accounting and computer programming to detective work and even creative occupations like art, acting, and writing. While individual problems vary, there are certain general approaches to problem-solving like the one first proposed by mathematician George Polya in 1945. [1] X Research source By following his principles of understanding the problem, devising a plan, carrying out the plan, and looking back, you can improve your problem-solving and tackle any issue systematically.

Define the problem clearly.

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  • Try to formulate questions. Say that as a student you have very little money and want to find an effective solution. What is at issue? Is it one of income – are you not making enough money? Is it one of over-spending? Or perhaps you have run into unexpected expenses or your financial situation has changed?

State your objective.

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  • Say that your problem is still money. What is your goal? Perhaps you never have enough to go out on the weekend and have fun at the movies or a club. You decide that your goal is to have more spending cash. Good! With a clear goal, you have better defined the problem.

Gather information systematically.

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  • To solve your money shortage, for example, you would want to get as detailed a picture of your financial situation as possible. Collect data through your latest bank statements and to talk to a bank teller. Track your earnings and spending habits in a notebook, and then create a spreadsheet or chart to show your income alongside your expenditures.

Analyze information.

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  • Say you have now collected all your bank statements. Look at them. When, how, and from where is your money coming? Where, when, and how are you spending it? What is the overall pattern of your finances? Do you have a net surplus or deficit? Are there any unexplained items?

Generate possible solutions.

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  • Your problem is a lack of money. Your goal is to have more spending cash. What are your options? Without evaluating them, come up with possible options. Perhaps you can acquire more money by getting a part-time job or by taking out a student loan. On the other hand, you might try to save by cutting your spending or by lowering other costs.
  • Divide and conquer. Break the problem into smaller problems and brainstorm solutions for them separately, one by one.
  • Use analogies and similarities. Try to find a resemblance with a previously solved or common problem. If you can find commonalities between your situation and one you've dealt with before, you may be able to adapt some of the solutions for use now.

Evaluate the solutions and choose.

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  • How can you raise money? Look at expenditures – you aren’t spending much outside of basic needs like tuition, food, and housing. Can you cut costs in other ways like finding a roommate to split rent? Can you afford to take a student loan just to have fun on the weekend? Can you spare time from your studies to work part-time?
  • Each solution will produce its own set of circumstances that need evaluation. Run projections. Your money problem will require you to draw up budgets. But it will also take personal consideration. For example, can you cut back on basic things like food or housing? Are you willing to prioritize money over school or to take on debt?

Implement a solution.

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  • You decide to cut costs, because you were unwilling to take on debt, to divert time away from school, or to live with a roommate. You draw up a detailed budget, cutting a few dollars here and there, and commit to a month-long trial.

Review and evaluate the outcome.

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  • The results of your trial are mixed. On one hand, you have saved enough during the month for fun weekend activities. But there are new problems. You find that you must choose between spending cash and buying basics like food. You also need a new pair of shoes but can’t afford it, according to your budget. You may need to a different solution.

Adjust if necessary.

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  • After a month, you decide to abandon your first budget and to look for part-time work. You find a work-study job on campus. Making a new budget, you now have extra money without taking too much time away from your studies. You may have an effective solution.

Do regular mental exercises.

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  • Word games work great. In a game like “Split Words,” for example, you have to match word fragments to form words under a given theme like “philosophy.” In the game, “Tower of Babel,” you will need to memorize and then match words in a foreign language to the proper picture.
  • Mathematical games will also put your problem solving to the test. Whether it be number or word problems, you will have to activate the parts of your brain that analyze information. For instance: “James is half as old now as he will be when he is 60 years older than he was six years before he was half as old as he is now. How old will James be when his age is twice what it was 10 years after he was half his current age?”

Play video games.

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  • Play something that will force you to think strategically or analytically. Try a puzzle game like Tetris. Or, perhaps you would rather prefer a role-playing or strategy game. In that case, something like “Civilization” or “Sim-City” might suit you better.

Take up a hobby.

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  • Web design, software programming, jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, and chess are also hobbies that will force you to think strategically and systematically. Any of these will help you improve your overall problem solving.

Expert Q&A

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Deal With Problems

  • ↑ https://math.berkeley.edu/~gmelvin/polya.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/N_R/Problem-solving
  • ↑ https://asq.org/quality-resources/problem-solving
  • ↑ http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/evaluate/evaluate-community-interventions/collect-analyze-data/main
  • ↑ https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCT_96.htm
  • ↑ http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/problem-solving.html
  • ↑ Erin Conlon, PCC, JD. Executive Life Coach. Expert Interview. 31 August 2021.
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5930973/
  • ↑ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/13/mental-exercises-to-keep-your-brain-sharp
  • ↑ https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/video-game
  • ↑ https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05449-7

About This Article

Erin Conlon, PCC, JD

To improve your problem-solving skills, start by clearly defining the problem and your objective or goal. Next, gather as much information as you can about the problem and organize the data by rewording, condensing, or summarizing it. Then, analyze the information you've gathered, looking for important links, patterns, and relationships in the data. Finally, brainstorm possible solutions, evaluate the solutions, and choose one to implement. For tips on implementing solutions successfully, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Can Video Gameplay Improve Undergraduates’ Problem-Solving Skills?

Benjamin emihovich.

University of Michigan - Flint, Flint, USA

Nelson Roque

Pennsylvania State University, State College, USA

Justin Mason

University of Florida, Gainesville, USA

In this study, the authors investigated if two distinct types of video gameplay improved undergraduates’ problem-solving skills. Two groups of student participants were recruited to play either a roleplaying video game (World of Warcraft; experimental group) or a brain-training video game (CogniFit; control group). Participants were measured on their problem-solving skills before and after 20 hours of video gameplay. Two measures were used to assess problem-solving skills for this study, the Tower of Hanoi and The PISA Problem Solving Test. The Tower of Hanoi measured the rule application component of problem-solving skills and the PISA Problem Solving test measured transfer of problem-solving skills from video gameplay to novel scenarios on the test. No significant differences were found between the two groups on either problem-solving measure. Implications for future studies on game- based learning are discussed.


Video games are played by more than half of the U.S population and the video game industry generated $36 billion in 2018 ( ESA, 2018 ). Given the popularity and success of the video game industry, game- based scholars are exploring how well-designed video games can be used to improve a wide range of knowledge, skills, and abilities referred to as game-based learning (GBL). Proponents of GBL argue that well-designed video games are grounded by active participation and interaction as the focal point of the learner experience and can lead to changes in behavior and cognition ( Ifenthaler, Eseryel, & Ge, 2012 ; Shute et al., 2019 ). Moreover, well-designed video games immerse players in environments that can provide a framework for learning experiences by promoting engagement and transfer from simulated worlds to the natural world ( Dede, 2009 ).

Current American students are not receiving adequate exposure to authentic ill-structured problem-solving scenarios in their classrooms, and schools need to address the acquisition of problem-solving skills for students in the 21st century ( Shute & Wang, 2016 ). American students trail their international counterparts in problem-solving skills on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Problem Solving Test. Furthermore, American business leaders complain about recent college graduates’ lack of problem-solving skills. Two surveys conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities of business leaders and students indicated that problem-solving skills are increasingly desirable for American employers, but only 38% of employers reported that recently hired American college graduates could analyze and solve complex problems while working ( Hart Associates, 2018 ).

Researchers of video game studies find that gameplay can be positively associated with the improvement of problem-solving skills ( Shute, Ventura, & Ke, 2015 ; Spires et al., 2011 ). However, current discourse in the field of gameplay and problem-solving skills centers primarily on descriptive research ( Eseryel et al., 2014 ) which can be summarized based on the following premise: video games require players to solve problems, and over time, playing video games will lead to improved problem- solving skills ( Hung & Van Eck, 2010 ). Descriptive research is important to argue that video games support problem-solving skills, but further empirical research is needed to demonstrate whether problem-solving skills are acquired through video gameplay. This research study addressed whether two distinct types of video gameplay empirically affects undergraduates’ problem-solving skills.

Video Games and Problem-Solving Skills

According to Mayer and Wittrock’s (2006) definition, problem solving includes four central characteristics: (1) occurs internally to the problem solver’s cognitive system; (2) is a process that involves conceptualizing and manipulating knowledge; (3) is goal directed; and (4) is dependent on the knowledge and skills of the problem solver to establish the difficulty in which obstacles must be overcome to reach a solution. Unlike the well-structured problems that students face in formal learning settings, well-designed games provide students with challenging scenarios that promote problem-solving skills by requiring players to generate new knowledge from challenging scenarios within interactive environments, while also providing immersive gameplay that includes ongoing feedback for the players to hone their problem-solving skills over time ( Van Eck, Shute, & Rieber, 2017 ). Rules govern video gameplay mechanics and one component of problem solving is the ability to apply existing rules in the problem space known as rule application ( Shute et al., 2015 ). One example of a rule application is found in the well-researched problem-solving puzzle the Tower of Hanoi ( Huyck & Kreivenas, 2018 ; Schiff & Vakil, 2015 ; TOH, 2019 ). The rule application component of problem-solving skill is one of the dependent variables in this study. Rule application refers to the problem-solver’s representation of the problem space through direct action, which is critical to problem solving ( Van Eck et al., 2017 ).

Literature Review

Video gameplay and transfer.

Researchers contend that the hidden power of well-designed video games is their potential to address higher-level learning, like retention, transfer, and problem-solving skills ( Gee, 2008 ; Shute & Wang, 2015 ). Retention is the ability to remember the presented information and correctly recall it when needed, while transfer is the ability to apply previously learned information in a novel situation ( Stiller & Schworm, 2019 ). Possible outcomes of playing video games may include the improvement of collaborative problem-solving skills, confidence, and leadership skills that are transferable to the workforce environment. Recent research on video game training studies and transfer of cognitive and noncognitive skills indicates that gameplay is positively associated with the improvement of attention, problem-solving skills, persistence ( Green & Bavelier, 2012 ; Rowe et al., 2011 ; Shute et al., 2015 ; Ventura et al., 2013 ), executive functions ( Oei & Patterson, 2014 ), and hypothesis testing strategies ( Spires et al., 2011 ). However, other researchers have found null effects of video gameplay and transfer of cognitive skills ( Ackerman, et al., 2010 ; Baniqued, Kranz, et al., 2013 ; Boot et al., 2008 ).

A recent meta-analysis of brain-training interventions found that brain-training interventions can improve performance on trained tasks but there were fewer examples of interventions indicating improved performance on closely related tasks, and minimal evidence that training enhances performance on daily cognitive abilities ( Simons et al., 2016 ). Among those finding null effects, questions were raised about the methodological shortcomings of video game training and transfer studies that are common pitfalls in experimental trials. Some of the pitfalls included failing to report full methods used in a study and lack of an effective active control condition that can expect to see similar improvement in competencies as the experimental group ( Baniqued et al., 2013 ; Boot, 2015 ; Boot, Blakely & Simons, 2011 ). Unless researchers define recruitment methods for participants and their gaming expertise (novice vs. expert), as well as compare active control groups with experimental groups receiving equal training games, then differential improvement is indeterminable ( Boot et al., 2013 ; Shute et al., 2015 ). The recruitment approach is outlined in the Method section.

Motivation for Selection of Games

The video games selected for this research study were based on the problem-solving skills players exercise and acquire through gameplay that were aligned with the problem-solving skills assessed on the external measures, the PISA Problem Solving Test and the Tower of Hanoi (TOH). Well-designed video games include sound learning principles embedded within gameplay such as requiring players to solve complex problems which can then be applied to other learning contexts ( Lieberman et al., 2014 ). In this study, the authors examined the effects of playing World of Warcraft ( Activision Blizzard, 2019 ) and CogniFit ( CogniFit, 2019 ) for twenty hours on undergraduates’ problem-solving skills (rule application and problem-solving transfer). The inclusion of CogniFit addresses a main concern of game-based research which is the lack of an active control condition to determine differential improvement ( Boot et al., 2013 ).

Problem-Solving and Video Gameplay Model

The authors have identified observable in-game behaviors (i.e., indicators) during gameplay that provide evidence for each of the problem-solving processes on the PISA Problem Solving Test. The process included playing each video game extensively, checking community forums for solutions to the most challenging problems for each game, and viewing experts’ gameplay video channel streams on YouTube. After generating a list of credible indicators, those selected were based on the following criteria: (a) relevance to the PISA problem solving levels of proficiency and (b) verifiable through gameplay mechanics. Examples of indicators for the PISA problem-solving processes for each game are listed in Tables 1 and ​ and2. 2 . The purpose of developing the problem-solving behavior model is to operationalize the indicators of gameplay that align with the cognitive processes being assessed on the PISA test (i.e., Exploring and Understanding, Representing and Formulating). The PISA Problem Solving Test contains questions representing six levels of proficiency: Level 1 is the most limited form of problem-solving ability such as rule application (solving problems with simple rules or constraints) and Level 6 is the complex form of problem-solving ability (executing strategies and developing mental models to solve problems). The PISA test will determine whether there is transfer of problem-solving skills from video gameplay to novel scenarios.

Examples of indicators for each PISA problem-solving process in Warcraft

Examples of indicators for each PISA problem-solving process in CogniFit

World of warcraft

Massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) require players to manage resources, adapt playstyle to the environment, test new skills and abilities, identify and apply rules to solve problems as well as explore the story of the game through questing. MMORPGs like Warcraft provide gameplay experiences that are analogous to meaningful instruction by offering complex multifaceted problems that require model-based reasoning—understanding interrelated components of a system, and feedback mechanisms among the components to find the best solutions to problems that arise using available tools and resources in a given environment ( Chinn & Malhotra, 2002 ; Steinkuehler & Chmiel, 2006 ). Therefore, if MMORPGs provide an authentic sense of inquiry into solving problems through gameplay, then it is worth testing whether these gameplay experiences transfer to novel problem-solving scenarios.

One specific example of transfer from gameplay in the MMORPG Warcraft to a natural context concerns the problem of reducing travel time. When players enter the game environment, they must account for extended travel time between different activities such as exploration, questing, and combat. To solve this problem, players are given a tool that can be accessed on their user interface by pressing (M) on their keyboard, which opens the map. Listed on the map are designated flight paths (FPs) that act as a taxi service for players. The image in Figure 1 indicates the various FPs a player has unlocked on their world map as well as those that have yet to be discovered ( Activision Blizzard, 2019 ). The flight path is a handy tool because it connects the goal of completing quests as soon as possible to earn rewards with the knowledge that using flight paths greatly reduces travel time between quests. Greatly reducing travel time results in a more efficient way to complete many of the sub goals in the game, and as noted by Shute and Wang (2016) the use of tools and resources efficiently is an important part of problem solving during gameplay.

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Player map listing flight path locations in World of Warcraft (2019)

Now, consider one of the questions being assessed on an external measure in the study, the PISA Problem Solving Test. Individuals are given a map that shows the roads between each city, a partially filled-in key that shows distances between cities in kilometers, and the overall layout of the area. The purpose of this question is to assess how individuals calculate the shortest distance from one city to another. To solve the problem, individuals are required to calculate the distance between the two cities of Nuben and Kado using the resources available. This is the same kind of problem that Warcraft players experience during gameplay when travelling between locations to complete quests. Both problem scenarios share the same overlapping components, the ability of the problem solver to use given tools and resources efficiently to find the most direct route that reduces travel time between two separate locations. Figure 2 illustrates this problem scenario on the PISA test ( OECD, 2003 ).

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Problem scenario for planning the best route for a trip from PISA (2003)

The brain training game CogniFit claims to have developed a patented system that measures, trains, and monitors cognitive skills like rule application, attention, memory, and visual perception and their relation to neurological pathologies. According to the CogniFit (2019) website the company states there are transfer effects from their mini games to problem solving in the natural world. The brain training game is selected as an active control condition based on this claim as well as repeated practice of rule application embedded into the gameplay experience.

One example of rule application in the brain training game CogniFit occurs in the mini-game Gem Breaker 3D. This mini-game requires players to direct a paddle back and forth across the screen to bounce a ball off the paddle that breaks the gem blocks without letting the ball touch the bottom of the screen. The initial tutorial informs players that improvement of their hand-eye coordination and processing speed skills are emphasized through gameplay with over 100 levels available to master. Feedback is provided to players with a score for each level showing where they can improve. Once all gem blocks are broken the level is completed and a new level begins. However, each player only has access to 4 balls for each level, and if they lose, the game reverts to the beginning. The tutorial shows players how to use the mouse to control the paddle back and forth across the screen while the spacebar launches the ball. Once a gem is broken there is a chance for a power-up to be gained such as shooting multiple balls, explosives, missiles, side quests or power-ups. Figure 3 illustrates the rules of the mini-game in Gem Breaker 3D ( CogniFit, 2019 ).

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Rules for the mini-game Gem Breaker 3D listed in the initial tutorial (2019)

Rule application occurs when playing the TOH and requires one to move an entire stack of disks (i.e., a number between 3 and 8) of varied sizes from one of three rods to another. While playing, players are constrained by the following rules: (1) only one disk can be moved at a time; (2) no disk can be placed on a smaller one; (3) only the uppermost disk can be moved on a stack. Rule application is demonstrated by the problem solver in the TOH by configuring the disks and the rods to reach a solution in the problem space. By configuring the disks onto the rods, each move of a disk indicates the problem solver attempting to creatively apply the rules, which is vital to problem solving ( Shute et al., 2019 ). Figure 4 illustrates the problem space in an online version of the TOH (2019) .

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Problem space in an online version of the Tower of Hanoi puzzle with 5 disks (2019)

Both video games require players to apply rules to solve problems and rule application is a component of problem solving ( Van Eck et al., 2017 ). As an example, Warcraft players learn that they can only cast certain spells in combat while standing still or that eating and drinking food while sitting down hastens the regeneration of health. Similarly, when playing the mini-game Gem Breaker 3D in CogniFit players use a paddle and a ball to break bricks. One of the first rules players encounter in the game is that they can only move the paddle left or right across the screen or that bonus bricks have special effects like increasing ball speed. The rules are more explicit in CogniFit than Warcraft so brain-training gameplay may promote better performance on solving the TOH. Each move with the paddle and ball is an example of applying the rules, and this is frequently done during gameplay in CogniFit .

However, CogniFit mini-games lack some of the salient gameplay features in Warcraft such as roleplaying gameplay, meaningful interactions with other players, and richly designed problem spaces that GBL scholars suggest are important to the transfer of problem-solving skills from video gameplay to novel contexts measured on the PISA Problem Solving Test. Warcraft gameplay provides players with repeated practice to solve authentic ill-structured problems in rich detailed problem-solving scenarios that may be better suited for transfer to novel scenarios on the test.

Research Questions

After describing the video gameplay conditions of Warcraft and CogniFit as well as reviewing the literature on problem-solving skills, the authors seek to answer the following research questions:

  • Is there a change, from pretest to posttest, on the rule-application component of problem solving, after 20 hours of video gameplay, on either a role playing or brain-training video game?
  • Does an immersive, collaborative role-playing video game promote transfer of problem-solving skills to novel scenarios better than a brain-training video game for undergraduates after 20 hours of video gameplay?

Setting and Participants

For this study, 91 undergraduate student participants (M Age = 19.32; SD Age = 1.43) were recruited to participate in this study and completed the initial questionnaire for the study, assessing: age, gender, ethnicity, major, and video games played daily. Participants were not invited to participate if they were not students at the data-collecting institution, were not 18–23 years old, or if they reported playing 30 or more minutes of Warcraft or CogniFit . 56 participants were randomly assigned to either the experimental group Warcraft or the control group CogniFit , yet only 34 completed the study ( n = 17 per group). Participant attrition for both groups were attributed to lack of time to complete the study or being too busy with schoolwork. Given the nature of our research questions assessing change as a function of training, subsequently presented analyses only include data from the 34 participants (17 males and 17 females) who completed the study (M Age = 19.44; SD Age = 1.41).

The independent variable in this research study is the video game with two levels: a roleplaying video game ( Warcraft ) and a brain-training video game ( CogniFit ). The video games provide players with repeated problem-solving scenarios requiring players to engage in problem-solving processes. The dependent variable measured for this study is problem-solving skill. One measure assessed the component of rule application of problem solving to solve a puzzle which is the TOH. The second measure assessed problem-solving in novel scenarios which is the PISA Problem Solving Test. Both groups were assessed on the TOH and the PISA Problem Solving Test. The TOH was used to assess research question 1 and the PISA Problem Solving Test was used to assess research question 2.

The Tower of Hanoi

Recall, the TOH is a valid and reliable experimental paradigm that can be used to assess rule application, problem solving and transfer ( Huyck & Kreivenas, 2018 ; Schiff & Vakil, 2015 ). Rule application is demonstrated by the problem solver in the TOH by configuring the disks and the rods to reach a solution in the problem space. By configuring the disks on to the rods, each move of a disk indicates the problem solver attempting to creatively apply the rules. Participants played the TOH on a computer from a free website online. The test score (i.e., lower scores are better) for completing the TOH can range anywhere from 31 (which is the minimal number of moves to execute) until it is solved.

PISA Problem Solving Test

The second external problem-solving measure in this study is the (2003) version of the PISA Problem Solving Test. The PISA Problem Solving Test ( OECD, 2003 ) contains 10 novel problem-solving scenarios, and within each scenario there is a range of one to three different questions that must be solved. There are 19 total questions on the test across all scenarios that required students to solve problems. For this study, participants completed five novel problem-solving scenarios for the pretest and the remaining five novel problem-solving scenarios for the posttest. The levels of proficiency for each question are randomized across all problem-solving scenarios. Each problem-solving scenario is independent from one another and each of the 19 questions across all scenarios being assessed in this study are isomorphic from the questions that were implemented in 2003. The scoring for most questions was either correct or incorrect, with some questions allowing for partially correct answers. Participants that answered each question correctly were awarded one point, while partially correct answers awarded participants a half-point.

Participants for this study were recruited via flyers posted publicly on campus and dormitory bulletin boards. Over the course of eight weeks, participants engaged in 10 gameplay sessions that lasted two hours each. Participants had the opportunity to complete these 10 sessions in two-hour time-blocks that were made available Monday through Friday for eight consecutive weeks. Participants completed the experiment in a classroom lab on campus at the university. In this experiment, student participants were randomly assigned to play one of two video games.

Participants in the experimental condition played the popular roleplaying video game Warcraft that promotes learning new terminologies, mastering interrelated skills and abilities, applying rules to solve problems, goal setting, and reflecting on progress. In addition, participants in the active control condition played the brain-training video game CogniFit (2019) . The video game allows players to select various mini-games including Gem Breaker 3D that may enhance cognitive abilities including rule application, memory, and focus. Student participants in this study were guided by discovery learning and provided with in-game tutorials for each condition while learning to solve problems through active exploration, interacting with the game environment and self-direction ( Westera, 2019 ). At pre-test and post-test participants had 20 minutes to complete isomorphic versions of the TOH as many times as possible. All participants successfully completed the TOH once during the pretest and once during the posttest. At pre-test and post-test, participants also had 20 minutes to complete as many questions as possible on The PISA Problem Solving Test. The pretest required participants to answer nine questions and the posttest required participants to answer 10 questions from multiple problem-based scenarios. Each problem-based scenario was unique, and some examples included the following: (1) calculating the distance between two points given a map; (2) developing a decision tree diagram of a library loan system; and (3) calculating daily energy needs for an individual given a set menu.

Data Structure and Analyses

The full dataset used for all analyses to be presented, contained data from 34 participants. All participants attempted three parallel, computerized forms of the TOH at baseline and at the end of the intervention. Due to the nature of the task’s programming, if participants did not complete a TOH task, the total number of moves attempted was not output to the data file. This will be expanded upon in the results section by utilizing three analyses which included an independent t-test comparing the mean number of incomplete TOH games between the groups, an independent t-test comparing the mean gain score of TOH between the groups, and a multiple linear regression predicting max gain score of TOH by group, by gain score count, and by group, gain score count, and PISA gain. All analyses in sections below were completed in R, version 3.4.3. Packages used for data analysis include: dplyr , for data wrangling ( Wickham et al., 2019 ), and ggplot2 for visualizations ( Wickham, 2016 ), and MASS for stepwise regression analyses ( Venables & Ripley, 2002 ).

Assessing Group differences in Completion

Although groups differed on the overall number of incomplete TOH sessions at pre-testing (N COGNITIVE = 13; N GAMING = 8), an independent t-test of the average number of incomplete games by group, was not significant (p > .05). Furthermore, an independent t-test revealed no group differences for the overall number of incomplete TOH sessions at post-testing (N COGNITIVE = 3; N GAMING = 2; p > .05). A repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant time effect, F(1,32) = 13.386, p<.001. However, group, F(1,32) = 1.609, p=.214, nor group by time interaction were significant, F(1,32)=.837, p=.367. On average, participants completed an additional half TOH session (i.e., .47, SD = .53) after receiving either training package (M Pre = .62, SD = .70; M Post = .15, SD = .36). Table 3 shows the means and standard deviations for the pretest and posttest scores participants completed in the experimental ( Warcraft ) and control ( CogniFit ) groups. The mean scores in the table indicate how many moves on average each participant could successfully solve the puzzle per group. For this study, participants had 20 minutes to complete as many questions as possible for the pretest and 20 minutes to do the same for an isomorphic version of the posttest. Table 4 shows the means and standard deviations for the PISA pretest and posttest scores of participants in the experimental ( Warcraft ) and control ( CogniFit ) groups.

Pretest and posttest scores by group on the Tower of Hanoi

Pretest and posttest scores by group on the PISA Problem Solving Test

Quantifying Improvement in Performance

In order to quantify improvement after the intervention, gain scores were calculated by the following formula, for each instance of the TOH task encountered (i.e. three sessions):

Gain scores produced from this calculation can be interpreted as follows: negative gain scores indicating improvement (fewer total moves at post-testing), and positive gain scores indicating a decrement in performance (more total moves at post-testing). As a result of incomplete games not producing the number of moves, for some participants, no gain score calculation was possible. At pretesting, the cognitive training group had three missing gain scores for the second TOH and 10 for the third TOH whereas the game training group had one missing gain score for the second TOH and seven for the third TOH. To account for this, when calculating average gain scores for each participant, averages were weighted by the number of completed games (i.e. averaging by the number of incomplete sessions would result in an undefined calculation, as some participants completed all sessions). Table 5 shows the results of an unpaired t-test on the average weighted gain scores found no group differences in TOH gain scores ( p > .05). Additionally, an unpaired t-test on the average PISA gain scores found no group differences gain scores ( p > .05).

Problem solving performance compared across training groups

Sensitivity Analysis

Due to missing data issues discussed above, the final analysis involves a stepwise multiple linear regression (forward and backward; AIC used for final model variable selection conducted using R package MASS, function stepAIC; Venables & Ripley, 2002 ), predicting max gain score (max of all three potential gain scores) by group membership (WoW or Cognitive Training), total gain score count, and a gain score derived from pre and post measurements on the PISA task (2003). Based on the stepwise regression procedure analysis results in Table 6 , the best fitting, significant, multiple regression model was found to be a model predicting max gain score from gain score count (no predictor for group membership or PISA gain score; F(1,32) = 14.41; p < .001; R 2 = .3104; adjusted R 2 = 0.2889). Participants predicted max gain score is equal to −111.70 + 48.87 (Gain Count), where gain score is in the unit of number of moves. Max gain score increased by 48.87 for every one unit increase in gain score count (more gain scores, closer to 0; less improvement after the intervention). Gain score count was a significant predictor of max gain score (t=3.796; p < 0.001), indicating potential practice effects from repeated exposure to the task. Practice effects will be discussed in subsequent sections.

Stepwise regression model path, analysis of deviance table and the row with the best fitting model, using AIC as criterion, is highlighted in gray

Evidence for Research Question 1

The initial hypothesis regarding the first question was that a brain-training game would help participants improve their rule application component of problem-solving skill better than a roleplaying game after 20 hours of gameplay for several reasons. One reason is that the rules are more explicit during brain-training gameplay and because of claims made by CogniFit that brain-training gameplay will improve its users’ brain fitness or ability to rely on more than one problem-solving strategy. While both games require players to apply rules to solve problems, only CogniFit markets its product as a tool that can help users to solve problems in their daily lives ( CogniFit, 2019 ). This claim also suggests that brain-training gameplay can help users transfer skills learned in-game to novel problem-solving scenarios in the natural world. However, the results indicated that there was no significant difference in gain scores (i.e., in Post - Pre Gain scores) in terms of TOH performance (t-test comparing gain scores: p = .746) between the two gaming conditions (i.e., Warcraft and CogniFit ), though both groups improved from baseline to post-testing assessment, likely attributable to practice effects (see Figure 5 ). Overall, the results contradicted our initial hypothesis for Research Question 1; implications are discussed next.

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Object name is nihms-1730211-f0005.jpg

Average number of moves in the Tower of Hanoi task across (up to 3) sessions per person, per timepoint. The left panel represents scores for the CogniFit (COG) group, and the right panel represents scores for the Warcraft (WOW) group.

Implications of Results for Research Question 1

Solving problems in an immersive game like Warcraft provided players with repeated practice of applying rules and using tools to find creative solutions to similar but varied problems. As players reflected on their choices, they learned how to use the tools by analyzing givens and constraints in unison to achieve maximum character performance and develop optimal solutions to general problems. CogniFit players did not experience immersive gameplay, but instead repeated problem-solving scenarios that were varied but required fewer tools and resources to be solved. Once CogniFit players knew how to use the paddle and the ball in unison, the only additional resources to use during gameplay were power-ups, bonus bricks, and traps. Roleplaying gameplay required players to solve problems using additional tools and resources efficiently which was a more complex task than using the ball and paddle during brain-training gameplay. Strategizing when and how to apply rules through varied but different problem scenarios with multiple tools and resources through immersive gameplay was beneficial for Warcraft participants. Moreover, players in Warcraft could receive feedback with help from other players learning when and how to apply tools and resources to solve problems. CogniFit players received feedback at the end of each level with an overall score and corrected mistakes through trial and error without additional support.

evidence for Research Question 2

The initial hypothesis regarding the second question was that training on an immersive, collaborative roleplaying video game for 20 hours would engender transfer of problem-solving skills to novel problem-solving scenarios on the PISA Problem Solving Test better than a brain-training video game. One reason is that research on MMORPGs including Warcraft indicates that players co-constructed knowledge by challenging and supporting novel ideas to in-game problem-solving scenarios through online discussion forums as well as discovering optimal solutions to in-game problems by combining multiple abilities and resources available to players ( Chinn & Malhotra, 2002 ; Steinkuehler & Chmiel, 2006 ). Efficiently using tools and resources is a component of problem solving and is central to the roleplaying gameplay experience ( Shute & Wang, 2016 ).

However, the results indicated that after 20 hours of gameplay of Warcraft or CogniFit there was no improved performance on the PISA (i.e., comparing PISA Gain Scores; p = .748). Overall, the mean scores for Warcraft participants were slightly better than CogniFit participants on the isomorphic versions of the PISA Problem Solving pretest and posttest - indicating baseline differences between the two groups in terms of performance. Overall, there were no significant differences found between roleplaying and brain-training gameplay on transfer of problem-solving skills (see Figure 6 ). The implications for the results from research question 2 are discussed next.

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Object name is nihms-1730211-f0006.jpg

PISA Scores before and after the intervention. The left panel represents scores for the COG group, and the right panel represents scores for the WOW group.

Implications of Results for Research Question 2

Given that both video game training and “brain-training” did not significantly improve problem-solving skills has several implications. The gameplay behaviors exhibited by players in each condition were aligned with the problem-solving processes on the PISA Problem Solving Test. However, possible reasons for lack of transfer in this study in addition to small sample size include (a) collaborative, immersive roleplaying gameplay may help promote problem-solving skills related to in-game problem solving scenarios but not necessarily to improved performance on external problem-solving assessments, and (b) problem-solving during Warcraft gameplay may be too domain specific to transfer to novel problem-solving scenarios on the PISA Problem Solving Test.

The misalignment between the problem-solving domains of Warcraft and the PISA Problem Solving Test could have hindered the possibility of finding a transfer effect. As an example, Warcraft players must learn how to navigate an immersive environment, use complex tools efficiently and effectively to solve problems during gameplay and interact with both the environment and other characters to solve problems. However, solving problems on the PISA Problem Solving Test is not an immersive experience. It was also a solitary activity; participants did not collaborate or interact with each other while taking the test. The OECD designed the PISA Problem Solving Test to cover more general problem-solving skills to complement domain-specific skills ( Greiff et al., 2014 ). Selecting a problem-solving assessment which is embedded within an immersive environment that requires players to engage in collaborative problem-solving processes (i.e. experienced in video gameplay) using tools and resources efficiently could have been a more viable assessment to measure transfer of problem-solving skills in this study. Further research is still warranted to determine if video gameplay can promote transfer of problem-solving skills to novel scenarios. The limitations of this research study are addressed in the next section.


Given time and resource constraints, the sample size of this study is small and lacks statistical significance to make claims regarding the general population. With more available resources, recruitment would have likely continued for an additional semester to raise the sample size for the study. Students that did not complete the study cited time constraints as the main reason they were unable to fulfill the 20 hours of video gameplay requirement. The optimal time to run the study would have been during Fall and Spring semesters instead of Spring and Summer. In Fall and Spring, more students would have been available for recruitment as well as increased scheduling flexibility and time to complete the intervention during the academic year for the participants. Given that the authors monitored participants during video gameplay in case any problems arose, there may have been expectancy effects that impacted participants. For example, participants’ gameplay experiences may have been negatively or positively affected when being monitored. The potential for participants to alter their behavior simply because they are being studied is known as the Hawthorne Effect ( Benedetti, Carlino & Piedimonte, 2016 ). In addition, the inclusion of a more immersive assessment that measures problem-solving skill transfer could have led to improved outcomes when compared to a more traditional assessment like the PISA Problem-Solving Test (2003).

Future Implications

The main goal of this study was to examine the impact of two distinct types of video gameplay; role playing ( Warcraft ) and brain-training ( CogniFit ) on problem-solving skills for undergraduates. Specifically, if video gameplay can improve the rule application component of problem solving and whether problem solving during gameplay transferred to novel problem-solving scenarios. This study addressed some of the methodological shortcomings found in previous video game training and transfer studies that failed to report recruitment methods, define study variables, and provide an active control group in which participants could expect receive equal improvement from competencies ( Baniqued et al., 2013 ; Boot et al., 2013 ). As a result, possible placebo effects are likely mitigated in this experiment improving upon methodological pitfalls affecting other video game training studies ( Anderson et al., 2010 ; Ferguson & Kilburn, 2009 ).

The results from this study suggest that neither a commercially available video game ( Warcraft ) or a commercially available “brain-training” package ( CogniFit ) resulted in improvements in the rule-based component of problem solving (as assessed by the TOH puzzle). Moreover, aside from a lack of improvement in the rule-based component, 20-hours of training did not promote transfer of problem-solving skills to novel scenarios (as assessed by the PISA Problem Solving Task), which is consistent with similar research findings on cognitive training and transfer ( Souders et al., 2017 ). Sensitivity analyses conducted found evidence for practice effects in gain scores, illustrating that rather than improvement due to the training packages, improvement seems related to multiple, closely spaced assessments. Future research can complement this study by increasing the sample size and testing similar immersive well-designed video games on participant knowledge, skills, and abilities, in addition to directly cuing participants to be aware of the strategies (i.e., perceptual and cognitive strategies) they might carry with them from the digital world to the real-world.


Nelson Roque was supported by National Institute on Aging Grant T32 AG049676 to The Pennsylvania State University.

Benjamin Emihovich is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology in the Education Department at the University of Michigan-Flint and is the program faculty coordinator for the online Educational Technology (M.A.) program. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of Instructional Design and Technology as well as curriculum and instruction. His research area focuses on the following; game-based learning, assessments for learning in immersive environments, and emerging learning technologies.

Nelson A. Roque is a NIA T32 Postdoctoral Fellow, at Penn State’s Center for Healthy Aging. Nelson earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Florida State University in 2018. Nelson has a strong background in visual attention, focusing on how to reliably measure it, how it relates to individual difference factors (e.g., age, sleep) and translating insights from theoretical work in visual attention to applied contexts (e.g. medication errors).

Justin Mason is a Postdoctoral Associate in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Florida. His research interests include interventions suitable for mitigating age-related cognitive and physical decline in older adults. Additionally, he’s interested in factors that influence older adults’ adoption and acceptance of emerging technologies.

Contributor Information

Benjamin Emihovich, University of Michigan - Flint, Flint, USA.

Nelson Roque, Pennsylvania State University, State College, USA.

Justin Mason, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.

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What Video Games Can Help Improve Problem Solving Skills

  • June 9, 2022

online games to improve problem solving skills

Problems are part and parcel of our daily lives. We all stumble across life with numerous issues at any given point in time. Some can solve them easily, while others take time. What is the difference between these two? It is their approach towards the problem.

Problems can be a blessing in disguise, and one needs to be able to see the potential of self-improvement in them.

What Video Games Can Help Improve Problem Solving Skills

One of the easiest ways that you must consider for  improving your problem-solving  skills is by playing video games, solving puzzles, online casino games, and more. Problems delay your thoughts, your actions, and all your plans. Without striving to overcome all these stumbling blocks in your direction, the possibilities of getting stuck in between traffic lights are high. You don’t want your goals to be messed up! So training your mind to break the loop and progress through reasoning will help build your problem-solving skills.

Fat Santa free play is available for a demo game, you can absolutely test your instinct and decision-making skills.

Grand Theft Auto (GTA)

Amazon.com: Grand Theft Auto V Pc: Video Games

If you are in a situation of being given a lot of tasks, time and deadlines, try to act like you are the character of GTA. Multi-tasking can improve your problem-solving skills because you are challenged to continue your work without any disturbances. You become more focused on accomplishing goals and finding solutions even if you receive tons of tasks on your desk.

As a matter of fact, video games have become more complicated. In order to assess the comprehension level of an individual in terms of business, work, and other community relationships, they prove to be good tools.

MOBA Games (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena)

How can you solve problems logically if you are afraid to socialize? Do you have trust issues when working with somebody? Your social abilities are advantageous, especially when you are strategizing solutions and are involved in teamwork.

online games to improve problem solving skills

These MOBA games , such as DOTA, Mobile Legends, League of Legends, and more, allow you to set up your microphones, headsets, or even cameras in order to talk to your teammates during the game. You can detonate obstacles in one snap through collaboration. It helps build one’s social skills and opens one’s mind to a lot of avenues.

Call of Duty

There is no doubt that Call of Duty is very well-known because it trains you to be a visual observer, and your spatial awareness is also stimulated. COD teaches you to become goal-oriented, and that makes you a good example of a solution provider.

Given a situation, if you were monitoring the system of your company used by different departments and suddenly program errors started to occur.  Your resilience to not break under pressure is the only thing that can save you during the said crisis. This is just an example of how Call of Duty influences your problem-solving strategy.

Call of Duty®: Warzone | Download

Magic Poker

Another tip to take note of improving problem-solving skills is judgment and prediction. Poker is very popular amongst gamblers for its need for the right judgment abilities. Betting a higher coin value will increase the bet amount, and you will have to create a good card combination to aim for the jackpot. This is where you can brush up on your judgment skills and get yourself a win. Once you hit it, you can half or double your stakes. Do not compromise a good prediction because you may end up going home and broke.

4 Problem Solving Aspects that Video Games Enhance

As Albert Einstein once said , “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” This quote encourages everyone to keep on learning and reading in order to advance and develop our existing problem-solving skills. And when speaking of video games, there is a pool of skills that you can further develop.

Critical Thinking

Video games are created involving ways to train the player to think wisely and precisely no matter what the situation is. Offline and online games can be designed in different genres, but most challenging games, such as strategy games, require the player’s good analysis and reasoning capabilities. If you can analyze a difficult situation, then you are strong enough to surpass it.

Video games are very influential, especially if you are just at home and recently bought your PS5. If you are the person who excels in creativity while trying to win an opponent’s battle plan, you can counter your problems with a super skill.

The devil is in the details. They distract you from accomplishing your to-do list and ended up with a day-over. Video games enhance your focus and attention to get you to the desired point. You are trained to observe every single detail of a situation. This skill will also help you in enhancing your approach to a particular challenge.

Enhanced Visual Memory

Like a jigsaw puzzle, you are challenged to shape yourself from being shattered into pieces by your frustrations. When playing with puzzles, you become more attentive to remembering each piece, the size, color, shape and picture. Your memory is enhanced visually in order for you to identify the correct pieces and make your moves.

Tips for Playing Games

Gaming does not only involve fun time but also remarkable mental strategies. In order to be able to maximize the chances of success, one has to carefully create strategies.

Below are some pointers for approaching a challenge:

  • Be careful with your time and plan ahead.
  • Choose your battles wisely and never play if you don’t understand the game rules.
  • Stick to a particular genre or a game if you want to master and entrust your winnings.
  • Take advantage of the streams and gameplay because these may help you win or update your strategy.
  • Lastly, do not disregard classic or ‘children’ games, such as chess or tic-tac-toe, because they are the backbone of most modern strategy games.

Games like chess force you to consider a wide array of possibilities and outcomes. It enhances your pattern recognition skills, and helps you learn to think strategically. Chess.com has apps for iPhones and Android devices.

online games to improve problem solving skills

We are all players in life. Sometimes we take home the crown, and sometimes we arrive home as losers. Winning your problems is the jackpot that everyone wants to achieve. Thanks to online game

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How Online Gaming Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

Table of Contents

Here is How Playing Online Games Can Help You Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills: Online gaming has become a popular form of entertainment around the world. With the rise of technology and the internet, gaming has evolved into a massive industry. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the benefits of gaming beyond just entertainment.

One of the most significant benefits of gaming is that it can help you improve your problem-solving skills. In this article, we will explore how playing online games can help you improve your problem-solving skills and provide answers to frequently asked questions about this topic.

Enhances cognitive abilities:

Playing online games can enhance cognitive abilities such as attention, perception, and memory. These cognitive abilities are essential for problem-solving, and improving them can help you become a better problem-solver. Studies have shown that playing action-based games can improve your ability to process visual information and make faster decisions.

Encourages critical thinking:

Online games often require players to solve complex problems to progress through the game. This requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Players must analyze the situation, identify the problem, and then come up with a solution. This process encourages players to develop critical thinking skills that can be applied to real-life situations.

Teaches decision-making:

Online games often present players with situations where they must make quick decisions. These decisions can have consequences that affect the outcome of the game. By playing online games, players can develop their decision-making skills and learn how to weigh the pros and cons of different options.

Promotes teamwork:

Many online games require players to work together to achieve a common goal. This promotes teamwork and communication skills, which are essential for problem-solving in real-life situations. Players learn how to communicate effectively with their teammates and how to work together to overcome challenges.

Types of online games that can improve problem-solving skills

Puzzle games:.

Puzzle games require players to solve complex problems by using logic and critical thinking. These games often involve challenges that must be completed in a specific order to progress through the game. Puzzle games such as Tetris, Sudoku, and Candy Crush can improve problem-solving skills.

Strategy games:

Strategy games require players to think ahead and plan their moves. Players must analyze the situation and come up with a plan to achieve their goal. These games often involve resource management, base building, and army management. Examples of strategy games include Civilization, Age of Empires, and Starcraft.

Role-playing games:

Role-playing games (RPGs) require players to make decisions that affect the outcome of the game. These decisions often involve moral and ethical dilemmas, and players must weigh the consequences of their actions. RPGs such as Fallout, Mass Effect, and Skyrim can improve problem-solving skills.

Action games:

Action games require players to make quick decisions and react to changing situations. These games often involve fast-paced gameplay and require players to think on their feet. Examples of action games include Call of Duty, Fortnite, and Apex Legends.

Frequently asked questions

Is playing online games a waste of time.

No, playing online games is not a waste of time. In fact, online games can have numerous benefits, including improving problem-solving skills, enhancing cognitive abilities, and promoting teamwork.

Can playing online games improve critical thinking skills?

Yes, playing online games can improve critical thinking skills. Online games often require players to analyze complex situations and come up with solutions. This process encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

What types of online games are best for improving problem-solving skills?

Puzzle games, strategy games, role-playing games, and action games are all excellent choices for improving problem-solving skills.

How much time should I spend playing online games to see a noticeable improvement in my problem-solving skills?

The amount of time needed to see a noticeable improvement in problem-solving skills can vary depending on the individual and the type of game being played. However, it is recommended to play games in moderation and not to let it interfere with other important aspects of life, such as work or relationships.

It’s also essential to choose games that are challenging enough to promote problem-solving skills but not so difficult that they become frustrating and discourage players from continuing to play. As a general rule, it’s best to aim for a balanced approach and limit gaming time to a reasonable amount each day.

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Are there any downsides to playing online games?

Like any form of entertainment, there are potential downsides to playing online games, such as addiction, isolation, and the risk of exposure to inappropriate content. However, these risks can be mitigated by setting limits on gaming time, playing games with friends or family members, and choosing age-appropriate games with appropriate content.

Can playing online games replace traditional problem-solving methods?

No, playing online games should not replace traditional problem-solving methods. While online games can help improve problem-solving skills, it’s important to use a variety of problem-solving methods to develop a well-rounded approach. Traditional problem-solving methods, such as brainstorming, research, and experimentation, are still essential for developing critical thinking skills.

Are there any age restrictions for playing online games that improve problem-solving skills?

Many online games have age restrictions to ensure that the content is appropriate for the intended audience. It’s important to choose age-appropriate games to ensure that children are not exposed to content that is not suitable for their age. Additionally, parental supervision and guidance are recommended when children are playing online games to ensure that they are playing in a safe and responsible manner.

How can parents encourage their children to play online games that improve problem-solving skills?

Parents can encourage their children to play online games that improve problem-solving skills by selecting games that are both fun and challenging. Parents can also play games with their children to make the experience more enjoyable and promote family bonding. It’s also important for parents to set limits on gaming time and ensure that children are playing games that are appropriate for their age.

Can playing online games improve problem-solving skills in the workplace?

Yes, playing online games that promote problem-solving skills can have a positive impact on workplace performance. Employers can use games to train employees in problem-solving, decision-making, and teamwork skills. However, it’s essential to select games that are relevant to the workplace and ensure that employees are not spending excessive amounts of time playing games during work hours.

How can online games be used in education to improve problem-solving skills?

Online games can be used in education to improve problem-solving skills by incorporating them into the curriculum. Teachers can use games to teach critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills in a fun and engaging way. Additionally, online games can be used as a supplement to traditional teaching methods to provide students with an alternative approach to learning. However, it’s important to ensure that the games are age-appropriate and relevant to the curriculum.

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Simple Ways To Improve Problem Solving Skills | Tasks and Games

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  • July 11, 2022

Table of Content

Children who develop problem solving skills at a younger age will find it less challenging when they enter the real world. Strong problem solving skills in students enable them to face difficulties like time management issues, communication barriers, technical glitches etc. Teachers play an important role in helping students improve problem solving skills .

Want to know how? Here are different tasks and games that help students to improve problem solving skills. 

What are problem solving skills?

Problem solving skill development is the process of understanding the cause of a problem and developing the most suitable solutions for the problem. Nowadays, most companies look for candidates who excel at problem solving skills since it is one of the essential skills in this developing world of technology. 

To become an excellent problem solver, a person should develop 

  • Communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Decision-making
  • Logical thinking, and more. 

Here are the top seven fun ways to develop and improve problem solving skills in your students.

1. Brainstorming 

Brainstorming is an activity that involves a group of people discussing and working towards finding solutions to a problem. It is a group problem solving activity that motivates students to develop their creativity and is one of the best games to improve problem solving skills and student participation in the classroom. 

Also read : Importance Of Group Discussion In Teaching

During the online sessions, you can give a scenario or a problem and encourage your students to form a group and discuss finding solutions for it. After discussing the solutions, each student has to explain their understanding and solution to the problem.

This collaborative problem solving activity makes them work together and improves their critical thinking . 

2. Decision-making games improve problem-solving skills

Decision making games involve finding the best possible option for a given scenario among more solutions. Nowadays, most organizations rely on proper decision-making strategies to make huge profits. Group decision making games make the students interact and improve problem solving skills . 

There are a lot of group decision making games you can make your students play among themselves, such as 

  • Tower of Hanoi
  • Reverse pyramid
  • Dumb Idea first
  • Problem-solving boxes
  • Tic-tac-toe, musical chairs, and Egg drop ideas are some of the most common group decision-making games.

3. Scavenger hunting game

Scavenger hunting is one of the enjoyable games that improve problem solving skills . In this game, students should be grouped into two teams. One group has to prepare a list of items, and the other team members should find and bring them all without purchasing any of them.

This game encourages students to work together and try different activities to accomplish the given tasks, which improves their creativity. 

4. Funny solution-finding games 

You can try some funniest problem solving games like blind drawing to improve problem solving skills in your students. In this game, a student has to describe something without saying anything so obvious about it.

Another student has to draw whatever he understands from that description. Playing this game develops a fun environment in the classroom instantly and helps to improve the thinking capability of students.

5. Impromptu games 

Another way to improve problem solving skills in students is by playing some impromptu games. Playing an impromptu game is an excellent way to make your students think critically. The word Impromptu means doing something without preparation or having any prior idea.

In this game, you will give each student an impromptu situation or a problem and ask them to find an immediate solution.

There are some possibilities of students coming up with a wrong or inappropriate answer since they thought instantly. In such cases, guide them the right way and insist they follow the proper way to follow. 

6. Think out-of-the-box games 

Providing a problem and asking your students to come up with solutions is great. However, as a teacher, you should make them think outside of the box. Teachers should encourage students to think creatively and arrive at the most unusual and extraordinary solutions. 

For example, after giving them a scenario, list all the usual solutions for that problem and ask your students to find something that is not on that list. Appreciate students who try to think differently and arrive at more creative answers.

Playing these games will help them think limitlessly and come up with extraordinary ideas. It is one of the best ways to improve problem solving skills .

Also read : Ways For Teachers to Make Online Teaching Fun

7. Poem or story Challenges 

Poem and story challenges rely on writing skills of students, so these activities help students improve problem solving skills as well as writing skills.

Teachers can assign different topics to their students to narrate poems or stories during online classes. 

This is a very popular game which helps in building and strengthening critical thinking and improve problem solving skills in students. Teachers can share their screen during online classes to play this game with students. This puzzle is an amazing team game as well. 

To wrap up 

Practicing problem solving techniques help children to solve complex problems more effectively in the future. It helps them decide accurately and enhances team working skills. Playing fun problem-solving games will also help them think uniquely and differently. 

Build your online teaching app with Classplus! Easy to customize and manage. Grow your coaching business with us. Talk to our experts now to learn more.

Ways to improve problem solving skills FAQs 

A1. Students can improve their problem-solving skills by being confident and strengthening their decision-making skills.

A2. There are many problem-solving skill activities that can be conducted in the classroom such as brainstorming, problem-solving as a group, moral dilemmas, and many more.

A3. Some simple steps to use your problem-solving skills are first identifying the problem, analyzing the problem, developing potential solutions, evaluating all solutions, choosing the best solution, implementing the solution, and at last measuring your results.

A4. The four types of problem-solving are troubleshooting, the gap from standard, target condition, and open-ended solution. 

A5. The three types of problem-solving strategies are trial and error, applying algorithms, and using heuristics.

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How Online Games Help You Develop Solution-finding skills

Posted by Sponsored | Jul 23, 2020 | Classifieds | 0

How Online Games Help You Develop Solution-finding skills

Video games are one of the best ways to spend your free time. The more popular online games are become, the more hooked we’ve gotten. You can access your favorite games using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Also, these games are available for everyone.

While they are fun to play, some critics have argued that spending too much time playing video games wastes time and precious energy. Video games are seen by some as something that is addictive and making people lazy.

Scientific studies have discovered that video games improve people’s creativity and problem-solving skills. They also improve financial management skills in the long run.

Video games and problem-solving skills

There are five core ways in which video games improve your ability to solve problems. Let’s look at them:

1. Learning from mistakes

Video games help players learn from their mistakes. When you make a mistake while playing your favorite game, you usually realize it on the spot. If you tried to overtake your competitors before turning that sharp corner, you learn to understand what distances are enough to beat your competitors.

You constantly adjust to the game’s environment. And this is a critical life skill. There is nothing that can stop someone who can learn from his mistakes in our modern world. As you play, you realize that you have to change your strategy or tactic instead of giving up.

2. Practice makes perfect

As you play video games regularly, you’ll go through an experience that scientists refer to as deep practice. This means that you’ll repeat something over and over again until you master the essential skills.

For instance, if you get shot by your enemies at a certain point in the game, you’ll get the same results every time until you change your tactic. This might seem frustrating but it is very useful especially when solving problems.

Deep practice improves your performance on gamblizard and helps you make the most out of the deposit bonuses available. You’ll learn to put your mind into solving the problems you are currently facing.

3. Trying out new things

Video games improve problem-solving skills because they allow you to try out different things without costing you a lot. For instance, if you are playing a puzzle game, you’ll keep trying out new things to figure out what works.

The trial and error approach is useful in the gaming world and real-life because it boosts your confidence. Most people avoid solving problems because they think they don’t know how to solve them. However, video games teach us that solutions are not always obvious and there’s no harm in trying out new things.

4. Games boost creativity

So, how are video games linked to creativity? Video games help your brain recover lost energies and reset. When you are playing a non Gamstop Book of Dead slots UK , you immerse yourself in it. And this allows your brain to form new connections and solve problems accurately. The number of tasks you’ll need to perform to solve your problems in life requires some degree of creativity.

5. Knowing when to give up

Video games are great tools at teaching you when to give up. In real life, you’ll keep trying out different ways to solve your problems. In a video game, you get feedback almost immediately.

Since you won’t try using the same tactic repeatedly, you’ll learn that not all solutions or strategies you come up with will be effective at solving problems . You’ll know when you are wasting time and when you are actually solving a problem.

Flexibility is key when you are trying to solve problems. Trying out new things is a critical key to solving your problems.

Video games improve your creativity and problem-solving skills. But this doesn’t mean that you should sit in front of your computer all day long. You need to improve yourself by reading books, watching tutorials, exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, and socializing with your loved ones. A single hobby shouldn’t consume your entire day.

Don’t be afraid to play video games for a few minutes or hours after a long day at school or work. Video games help your mind relax and boost your creativity. There are lots of online games that you can play without having to pay for anything. Research extensively on the best video games in the market to avoid making mistakes.

Paul Calderon is a professional journalist, content creator, and editor. He encourages students to try out new ways to solve problems and unlock their potential. During his leisure time, he walks his dog or travels with friends.

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online games to improve problem solving skills

online games to improve problem solving skills

Problem-Solving, Exploring, and More: Engaging Activities for Kids

Problem-solving skills for kids

A child’s ability to solve problems is valuable in helping them cope with challenges. As they grow up, kids are presented with a wealth of educational possibilities. They also regularly face challenges, such as conflicts, peer pressure, and challenging mathematical calculations. The benefits of problem-solving skills for children are vast and can help them properly deal with such situations.

This way they learn to identify practical solutions alone without relying on an adult. They will also have more faith in their capacity to apply their problem-solving talents and develop original solutions on their own when facing challenges.

Read this blog, to know the importance of problem-solving abilities for children, how to infuse this skill in them, and for some exercises like storytelling, coding for kids , puzzles, crafts, and many more to assist them to develop this crucial skill.

What do problem-solving, exploring, and thinking mean?

Problem-solving is the process of finding a solution to a problem. It may involve finding alternatives, generating ideas and solutions, evaluating them, and then choosing one. Problem-solving also includes being able to recognize when you should solve a problem. For example, taking a math test without understanding the material is a problem that needs to be solved. So is being hungry and having no money to buy food.

Exploring means looking at things from different perspectives, trying new things, and asking questions to understand. This can help us learn new things, solve problems, and make new connections. It is a skill that children can learn and use in their everyday lives.

Thinking involves using our imagination, understanding our emotions, and using language and symbols to express our ideas or solve problems.

So, let’s start at the beginning:

Contrary to popular belief, problem-solving skills are not limited to a specific set of techniques. The sum of these abilities determines how rapidly and accurately a person can work through the steps of problem-solving to arrive at a workable solution.

Some problem-solving abilities are listed below.

  • Critical Thinking
  • The Use of Logic
  • Competence in Making Choices
  • Knowledgeable in the Art of Conversation
  • Strategic Plan for Creative Problem-Solving

There will be times when you will only need to rely on one or two of your abilities to solve the challenge at hand. Other times, especially when dealing with more complicated issues, may call for three or more. It’s hard to say without more information.

Why Is Problem Solving an Important Skill to Develop?

This may sound strange, but problem-solving skills are actually being taught way before you start solving actual problems. Infants and toddlers who are just learning to crawl or walk may tire themselves out attempting in vain to overcome obstacles such as walls. The parent is the one to first recognize the issue and then devise a strategy for dealing with it, such as eliminating the barrier or helping the child to climb it. Again, it is the parent who will recognize the child’s frustration at a challenge, such as opening a door, as the kid begins to walk. The child learns that there are ways out of difficult situations if they put in the effort to find them. Parents should not solve their children’s problems for them but rather help them work through the issues and arrive at their own conclusions.

How to Inculcate Problem-Solving Skills in Children ?

Problem-solving skills are best learned when a child is actively engaged in exploring. To promote problem-solving skills, parents can do a few things:

Method 1: Explore and Discover New Things

Exploring and discovering new things is a great way to encourage problem-solving in your child. Let your child explore one new thing a day. This can be something as simple as a new food or flavor, or finding a new toy that they’ve never played with before. Let your child explore and take note of how they feel about it. This can help them discover more about themselves and the world around them.

online games to improve problem solving skills

You can also encourage exploring through the following:

  • Taking an Adventure : Going on an adventure with your child can help them explore and discover new things. You can do this inside or outside and make it as simple or as complex as your child is interested in.
  • Exploring Your Environment : Get to know your neighbourhood. Explore your local parks, forests, and other areas. This will help your child get to know their environment and discover things they might not have otherwise noticed.
  • Following a DIY Project : This can be as simple as building something with Lincoln logs or other building toys. Let your child explore their creative side and see what they discover about themselves through this project.

  Method 2: Help Your Child Think Through Problems

If your child has a specific problem that needs to be solved, you can help them think through it by giving them some guidance. Once your child has shared their problem with you, use these steps to help them come to a solution:

  • List all the facts: This means the things that are true or relevant to the problem. For example, if your child’s friend is mad at them, you might want to help them solve this problem. You can start by helping your child list all the facts.
  • List all the assumptions: This means the things that your child is assuming are true but might not actually be. This is where your child might be jumping to conclusions that aren’t entirely accurate.
  • List all the options: This means the different ways your child can deal with their problem. After listing all the facts and assumptions, your child should be able to come up with some options to solve their problem.

Method 3: Encouraging Exploration and Discovery in Children

As a parent, you also need to engage in this. You don’t want to be the parent who has everything planned out for their child, never allowing them to explore or discover new things for themselves. This not only helps your child, but it also helps you come to terms with the fact that you’re not a perfect parent.

online games to improve problem solving skills

You can encourage exploration in your child by doing the following:

  • Let your child explore their environment: This can be as simple as exploring a park or forest or getting to know your neighbourhood. Not only does this help your child discover new things, but it also helps you come to terms with the fact that you’re not a perfect parent.
  • Let your child explore their interests: Whether it’s exploring a new hobby, game, or sport, let your child dive into something they’re interested in so they can explore and discover new things.
  • Be open to new experiences: When you and your child are out and about, be open to new experiences. Let your child explore and discover as much as possible while out and about with you.

Children learn best when they are actively involved in the process. With the right activities, we can help our children to develop these skills and have happier; more successful lives.

Here is a list of activities, which will test their problem-solving skills

Computer coding/programming.

Coding is a great way to help kids develop their problem-solving skills. Children can start to understand the basics of coding from a young age and gradually build their knowledge as they age. With the right curriculum and resources, kids can become creative problem solvers and develop the skills they need to succeed. And luckily, there are plenty of ways to get kids coding .

online games to improve problem solving skills

SkoolOfCode is a great place to start, as it offers a range of online coding classes for kids , from beginner to advance. With their fun and interactive coding for kids courses, kids can learn the fundamentals of coding, while also gaining an understanding of how to think logically and develop problem solving skills. Parents can also help their kids by finding coding activities and resources that the entire family can work on together.

To help your child develop skills relevant to today’s world, consider signing him or her up for one of the many holiday workshops that focus on creating a game or project in just two hours. A coding workshop is an intensive, hands-on introduction to a specific programming language or code library. So don’t hesitate to jump on the coding bandwagon – your kids will thank you for it.

Interactive storytelling

Interactive storytelling is a creative and engaging way to develop problem-solving skills. It can apply to any interest or passion your child has: a hobby, sport, favorite TV show or book series, or even something totally new and different.

online games to improve problem solving skills

With interactive storytelling, your child can experiment, explore and create their own solutions to problems. They can apply problem-solving skills as it helps in imagining new scenarios, characters and outcomes. A child’s attachment to a fictional figure is typically at its highest during this time. So, when they’re stumped, have them imagine how their fictional hero would handle the situation. Have them consider several different options and the results they could bring about.

This can be done through a variety of different tools, from creating a story with friends using a collaborative online tool (such as Scratch, ROOM or SMAUG) to writing stories using software such as Twine or using computer programming to create an interactive story.

Puzzles can provide an engaging way for kids to practice problem-solving skills. Your child can try out different types of puzzles, including word or number puzzles, crossword puzzles, or jigsaw puzzles. Puzzles are a fun way to challenge your child’s problem-solving skills. They can also provide a great opportunity for you to engage your child in conversation and listen actively while he shares his ideas and solutions to puzzles.

online games to improve problem solving skills

Furthermore, the exercise will aid in the development of their analytical and logical reasoning abilities, as well as their motor abilities and hand-eye coordination.

Building Blocks

online games to improve problem solving skills

Building with LEGO or other building blocks engages your child’s creativity and imagination while also providing opportunities for problem-solving. Your child can create anything they can imagine with these materials, which allows them to experiment, explore and create their own solutions to problems. They can apply their problem-solving skills as they imagine new scenarios, characters and outcomes.

The Human Knot

The human knot is a great activity for kids who enjoy being creative and working together as a team. It can help improve problem-solving skills by working through a series of challenges with your child’s friends.

online games to improve problem solving skills

To start the activity, kids should gather in a large circle. They should then clasp hands with their neighbors to create a knot. This can be a bit tricky, so it might be best for older kids to do this activity. Once the knot is formed, the team has to work together to unknot the circle and find a solution to getting untangled. While this is a fun way to engage in problem-solving skills, it can also be a good exercise in communication.

Board games and Craft

Board games and crafts are a great way for kids to have fun and learn at the same time. For parents, it’s a great way to get their children thinking critically and creatively while improving their problem-solving skills.

online games to improve problem solving skills

Board games in particular can help develop a child’s social skills, as they’ll be spending time with family or friends playing the game. And because the games are interactive, they need to think quickly and come up with strategies to win.

Crafts can also help children develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills. By allowing them to express themselves through art and design, they’re encouraged to be creative and come up with unique solutions to their problems. Plus, it’s a great way to boost their confidence, as they’ll be proud of the things they create.

online games to improve problem solving skills

So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your child’s ability to think creatively and critically and improve their problem-solving skills, board games and crafts are an excellent option.

Interactive Websites/Online Games

Playing online interactive games is an exciting way for kids to develop problem-solving skills. These games help children think outside the box, encouraging them to come up with creative solutions for the tricky puzzles they encounter. By playing these interactive games, kids are also improving their logical reasoning skills, gaining a better understanding of the world around them, and learning how to approach problems more effectively.

Parents can also use these games to teach their children about the importance of perseverance, how to set and achieve goals, and how to work through challenges. With a variety of puzzles and games to choose from, kids can have a blast while exercising their problem-solving muscles. These skills can be applied in real-life situations where your child needs to solve problems: like unearthing a math problem, finding the best route to walk to school, or working through a disagreement with a friend.

Open- Ended Questions

online games to improve problem solving skills

Asking open-ended questions is an excellent way to help your kids think creatively and critically and improve their problem-solving skills. This type of questioning encourages kids to think outside the box and come up with solutions to complex problems. Parents can use open-ended questions to help their children explore topics, understand different perspectives, and think about the consequences of their actions. And the best part is, these questions don’t require any additional materials or tools – just you and your kids. By asking questions like “What would happen if…?”, “What do you think would work in this situation?”, or “How would you solve this problem?”, you can help your kids develop their problem-solving skills and explore their creative thinking. You’ll be amazed by the answers they come up with.

A better understanding of the problem-solving process and how it works can help you become a better problem-solver. Often, when we find ourselves stuck in a problem, we’re too focused on the issue at hand to think clearly and find creative solutions.

There’s no denying the benefits of engaging in activities for kids. Whether your kid is exploring the world around them or challenging their mind, these activities are beneficial for kids of all ages. However, it’s important to keep in mind that kids of different ages require different types of activities. For example, an activity that’s beneficial for an older child might not be beneficial for a younger child. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different types of activities for kids and how they can help your child.

By  –  Ms. Manpreet Virk ,  Head of E-learning and an educator at SkoolofCode with degree in M.Phil. and Master in Computer Science. She is passionate about learning and teaching young minds.

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Education and Information Technologies volume  28 ,  pages 11679–11712 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

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Playing games can be one of the most important activities for children to improve their social problem-solving (SPS) skills. Studies that have examined the empirical evidence of playing games concerning children’s SPS skills have tended to focus on the function of a single game. Therefore, an overview study is needed to generalize the data by the game content and production purpose. Twelve databases were systematically searched. Four basic criteria were sought for studies to be included. A total of 35 studies meeting all the inclusion criteria were reviewed. The results showed that (i) experimental designs were the most utilized, and (ii) more studies using active control groups are needed to compare the effectiveness of the game playing. In non-traditional games research, half of the videogames used in the studies reviewed and classified, were primarily produced for educational purposes, followed by serious games (30%) and entertainment games (20%). These three types of videogames were effective in promoting children’s SPS skills. Moreover, simulation games were the most preferred videogame genre utilized by the researchers. In studies using videogames, children’s SPS skills did not differ significantly by gender, whereas in a study using traditional games (non-video games), male participants’ problem-solving ability progressed significantly more than that of females. Almost all the studies concluded that playing both videogames and traditional games positively influenced children’s SPS skills. However, only three studies utilizing traditional games were conducted during the two-decade period (2000–2019) and more studies are needed for comparable and generalizable results.

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online games to improve problem solving skills

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All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article (Appendix Table 2 ).

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Yılmaz, E., Griffiths, M.D. Children’s social problem-solving skills in playing videogames and traditional games: A systematic review. Educ Inf Technol 28 , 11679–11712 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-023-11663-2

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