Custom vs Existing Problem Scenarios


"Existing” problem scenarios in the findingQED cloud-based library are available to any registered user. However, because it is so efficient on the findingQED platform to create new scenarios that address higher-order thinking within any specific context and domain of interest, institutions and instructors will find it compelling to create their own.

findingQED’s web-based scenario creation tool requires only that the scenario author have a perspective on which skills and knowledge they wish to focus, and to be familiar with the domain in which they are creating the problem scenario. Each scenario author can modulate the scenario's level of difficulty as appropriate for the age and domain expertise of the intended users by the nature of the problem scenario and a range of factors, such as those described in the following paragraph.

Modulating the Difficulty of a Scenario

Scenarios can be as simple or complex as the scenario creator deems appropriate. There are many different levers for affecting scenario difficulty, a few of which include: length of scenario (i.e. number of scenes), the nature of the scenario's situation and context, it's richness, complexity and breadth and depth, the amount of information to be processed within and across different scenes, ratio of red-herring distractors vs. useful information, degree to which information is explicit vs. implicit, depth of domain expertise required (if any), nature and type of analyses required, nature of conceptual models that need to be applied (if any), presence (or not) of instructional primers embedded in the scenario, number and type of "seemingly unrelated" elements that need to be connected and incorporated into a coherent understanding, extent to which related information is dispersed across multiple scenes, breadth and ambiguity of issues to be addressed, relative attractiveness of potential alternatives, clarity and relative weights of possible decision criteria, difficulty of uncovering impacting factors, amount of information that is not available but that a learner may desire, assumptions that may be necessary to make, existence of "conventional wisdom traps", level of uncertainty of information, judgments that may be required, sophistication of inferences, and the complexity of reasoning chains that are required. 

From this short list it should be clear that the situational and cognitive challenges present in a scenario can be the very same that one would expect to find in actual circumstances. Further, this example list also illustrates some of the ways that learners encounter opportunities for developing and exercising their higher order thinking skills on the platform.

Co-Create with findingQED

findingQED is available to jointly create problem scenarios with institutions or partners where that is desired.   Please contact findingQED to discuss the opportunities and advantages of co-creating custom problem scenarios.

Example Problem Scenarios

Existing problem scenarios in the findingQED library vary widely, as illustrated by the following example scenarios:

Business Strategy Scenario

The CEO of a high growth information services company is asking for help to decide upon a strategy in the context of a changing environment and different pressures on the business. The situation incorporates technological, geo-political, competitive, cultural, employee, and leadership factors.  This is one of longer more complex scenarios currently on the findingQED platform, with 36 total scenes including: 12 interview videos with various senior managers, 15 graphs and charts of widely varying formats, 5 photographs, 2 PDFs of text, 1 CEO memo, and 1 PDF background primer on making certain financial calculations. There are multiple issues and each can have different resolutions. Each resolution has to be supported by a well-reasoned fact based argument.  Students in the MBA program at the University of Washington have told findingQED that by engaging with this scenario, they felt they were an integral part of the management team of the business.

Common-Knowledge Scenario with Civil Engineering & Meteorology Factors

The Mayor of a small city needs help deciding whether or not to issue an order to evacuate her town given that the town is immediately downstream of a very large reservoir supported by an earthen dam. The reservoir is nearly at capacity and the area is facing a weather forecast of 3 more weeks of intense rain. There is some risk that the dam will fail if the level of the reservoir tops the dam. The level of analysis and argument construction for this "common-knowledge" scenario is geared for first year college students with the intent to introduce them to elements of engineering and meteorology. However, the scenario data, required analysis, and argument construction could easily be configured either (a) easier for middle school or (b) more challenging for civil engineering or meteorology graduate school. 12 total scenes, including 1 informative and engaging video as well as 3 scenes with different important graphs and charts. Remaining scenes are photographs. The mayor is asking for a well-reasoned fact-based argument to support a decision of whether to evacuate or not.

Biology / Health Sciences Scenario

The task in this scenario is to determine which diet is the most effective for reducing heart disease risk, given a robust set of facts and data generated by a systematic study (including red herring distractors).  Conclusions are supportable with well-reasoned fact-based arguments.  10 total scenes including: 1 video interview, 4 graphs and charts, 2 summaries of the diet study, 1 review on interpreting statistical results, 1 summary outlining the diets, and 1 summary of heart disease mechanics and symptoms.

Business Logistics Strategy Scenario

The CEO of an expanding electric motorcycle manufacturer, with global sales, needs to determine the best location or locations for manufacturing, given a broad set of factors pertaining to costs, customer preferences, competitors, and geopolitical concerns, (including red herring distractors).  Fairly extensive quantitative analysis and risk assessment is required.  Conclusions are supportable with well-reasoned fact-based arguments.  19 total scenes including: 3 interview videos, 8 graphs and charts, 2 maps, 2 history notes, 1 product backgrounder, 1 audio interview, 1 CEO memo, and 1 PDF review on making certain financial calculations.

Simple Common-Knowledge Scenario

Determining who (or what) was responsible for a boat floating adrift in the middle of a lake with no one on board.  Several possible culprits and a set of facts enabling the formation of hypotheses and conclusions about each potential culprit.  The situation includes red herring distractors.  Conclusions are supportable with well-reasoned fact based arguments.  3 total scenes, including: 2 video scenes and 1 PDF with some relevant facts.

Text Questions for exercising higher-order thinking

These questions (analogous to robust standardized test questions) enable learners to not only practice core math and/or reading skills, but much more importantly, they empower learners to develop, exercise and receive important feedback about core higher-order thinking skills. By having students construct explicit well-reasoned fact-based arguments supporting their answer to each text question, they learn and receive automated feedback on how to:

  • break the problem down,
  • into observable specific facts and creatively derived inferences,
  • connecting what is relevant in an explicit purposeful logical sequence,
  • and forming a well-reasoned, fact-based, coherent resolution to the question.

While questions are similar to what would might appear on a standardized test, the analytical process, argument constructions, and resulting automated feedback provided by the Argue Pad™ adds a robust, highly valuable learning opportunity.

Bottom Line on Scenarios

findingQED's innovative framework enables a nearly infinite range of contexts, topics, stories, types of information, and problems.  The only requirement for a problem scenario in our innovative framework is that there be at least one problem, issue or question that can be explicitly argued with at least one solution perspective (however certain), where each perspective must be supported with valid facts and reasoning.

From the from the "Deeper Dive" menu just below, explore more about how findingQED develops, exercises, and assesses higher-order thinking skills. Feel free to contact us at to learn more about how how we can assist you and the learners in your organization.

A Deeper Dive into the Power of findingQED



How it Works


What Scenarios?


Knowledge vs Thinking


Feedback & Assessment