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Designing for Decision Making

Educational Technology Research and Development Volume 60, Number 2, ISSN 1042-1629


Decision making is the most common kind of problem solving. It is also an important component skill in other more ill-structured and complex kinds of problem solving, including policy problems and design problems. There are different kinds of decisions, including choices, acceptances, evaluations, and constructions. After describing the centrality and importance of decision making to problem solving and everyday cognition, this paper contrasts normative (rational) with naturalistic approaches to decision making. Normative approaches, such as decision matrices, SWOT, and force field analyses, scaffold rational decision-making approaches. Naturalistic approaches such as constructing stories, mental simulations, scenarios, and arguments, emphasize the meanings of decision options and the role of unconscious emotions in decision making. Recommendations about instructional designs to support both conceptions are followed by recommendations about assessing decisions and decision-making ability. These recommendations provide many researchable questions.


Jonassen, D.H. (2012). Designing for Decision Making. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(2), 341-359. Retrieved May 25, 2019 from .

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