The Reflective Judgment Model by King and Kitchener is a cognitive student development theory that expands on the work of earlier theorists such as Perry, Fischer, and Kegan. Although the RJM’s inception was in the early 90s it still has significant relevance to today’s college students.
Well-stuctured vs. ill-structured Problems
This difference is an underlying foundation of the RJM and is woven between all seven stages.
A well-structured problem is one that has a definite and knowlable answer. My favorite example is math problems. They have a knowable and correct/incorrect answer within a certain degree of certainty.
An ill-structured problem, however, complicates things. These problems are those in whi “reasonable people reasonably disagree” (website). You need not look farther than politics to see a plethora of ill-structured problems ranging from climate control to healthcare. There is no answer in which everyone can ascribe to with large margin of certainty.
View the below presentation that I gave in my College Student Development class for an overview of the RJM.
Also, see this handout on the RJM too: Shane Young Reflective Judgment Handout.