The multiple faces of complex problems: A model of problem solving competency and its implications for training and assessment

  • Andreas Fischer (Author)
    Heidelberg University
  • Jonas C. Neubert (Author)
    Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg

Identifiers (Article)


In this paper, we present a competency model for complex problem solving (CPS) by building on the categories of Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Other components (KSAO). We highlight domain-general and domain-specific components in each of these categories, review established conceptualizations of CPS, and present a new model of CPS competency that is meant to provide a starting point for systematic research on training and assessment. The model highlights the idea that complex problems differ with regard to the KSAO components they demand from a problem solver and that performance in one problem does not necessarily predict performance in a different problem. Implications for research on the training and assessment of CPS competency are discussed, and a selection of well-established tests for various components of the KSAO model is provided.


complex problem solving, problem solving competency, KSAO model