T2 - The Alhambra Restoration
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Professional Information Center | Student Investigation Center | Communication Center
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Investigation/ Exploration
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Resolution/ Refinement
Knowledge and Skills
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The goals of Resolution/Refinement are to analyze options and arrive at an agreed-upon solution (action or decision), and then to communicate that solution to the appropriate audience in an authentic manner. The emphasis during this phase should be, first, on making a decision, and second, on designing and developing a product or performance that will best communicate the decision.

During this phase of PBL you lead your students to consider solution options that minimize the undesirable conditions and maximize the desirable outcome, as set in the problem statement. It will become clear that there is no one "right" solution, though some solutions may be better than others given the goals and constraints of the situation. It also will become clear that solutions reflect the values of those making the recommendations. A tolerance for ambiguity and multiple solutions is an important attribute to develop during this phase.


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As students begin thinking about their final presentation in this Resolution phase, you can introduce them to the GOSM strategy (or prompt its use if they are already familiar with the strategy). This strategy, and other similar strategies, prompts the use of important considerations in effective presentations. Refer to the paper on Universal Design for Learning PDF for tips on how to scaffold the use of learning strategies with your students.



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Skillful decision-making is needed during this phase of PBL, and the use of visual organizers can be helpful in this process. An especially useful graphic is the decision matrix word , which assists users in weighing alternatives against selection criteria. The decision matrix is also effective to use later as part of the decision justification.

Value Clarification

Values can figure prominently into decision-making. A graphic that assists users in identifying the values impacting a decision, as well as their relative strengths, is the force field analysis Word.

Product Development

Along with decision-making, product development is the focus of Resolution/Refinement. In The Alhambra Restoration there are several products to develop and a number of product options. First, there will be the panels. After students decide on the best panel design(s), they must present their selection to the Municipal Council. Panels could be verbally described or drawn; models could be constructed, etc.

Then there will be the presentation itself, which should include a justification of the selection and should certainly include both economic and cultural considerations. The presentation could be an oral report, a PowerPoint presentation, a written report, etc. You can direct these products, if you like, by using a "Pointer" and/or a "Kicker." See the Letter from Municipal Council PDF as an example of a "Pointer" that directs students to prepare handouts, use visuals, etc.

Learning Tasks

Learning Tasks for decision-making and product preparation may be assigned as whole group or small group activities. Product development and presentation preparation offer good opportunities for multiple means of representation and expression, important principles of Universal Design for Learning. Below are two sample Learning Tasks.


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Embedded Instruction

There will be numerous opportunities for "just in time" teaching during the Resolution phase. Students will need to develop skills in decision-making, effective communication, modeling, etc., and you will need to act as a "coach" to assist them.

Jigsaw PDF

Again, you may find the jigsaw useful as a teaming structure. A description of the jigsaw is in the Professional Information Center.

Inquiry PDF

Inquiry continues to be essential as you guide students through the process of decision-making and product development. You will find a brief paper on metacognitive inquiry in the Professional Information Center.

Questions you might ask:

  • What decision(s) do we have to make? (For The Alhambra unit, the first decision will probably be whether or not to restore the panels. If the decision is "yes," then the next decision will probably be what design to select.)
  • What do we have to consider in making our decision?
  • What is most important to consider?
  • How does our understanding of patterns help us here?
  • What are the possible consequences of each of our options?
  • What will our recommendation be?
  • How will we justify that recommendation?
  • Who is our audience?
  • How can we best reach that audience?
  • How can we most effectively present our recommendation?


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The Problem Log and Product/Performance Rubrics will continue to be used as assessments during the Resolution phase. You will want to develop additional product rubrics, but you may find our Presentation Rubric PDF especially useful during this PBL phase. Students can access blank Problem Logs in the Student Investigation Center.


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Go to the Debriefing HTML phase to "step out" of the scenario and reflect on your PBL experience.


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Before proceeding, please take a moment to share your experiences HTML with us!

Photo of Alhambra
Photo courtesy of Joe Frank Jones, III

Copyright © 2004 Elon University.