Critical Thinking University™
Become a Better Thinker in Just One Hour a Week.
Imagine being able to learn – in just one hour a week – dynamic problem-solving skills that can be applied directly to actual workplace situations. It’s now possible, through Critical Thinking University™. This powerful online portal gives everyone from individual contributors to mid-career managers the ability to solve difficult on-the-job problems. That benefits the organization – and the bottom line.
Critical Thinking University is far from a passive experience – participants advance through 18 interactive courses with real-world business scenarios that require them to:
- Recognize assumptions
- Distinguish fact from opinion
- Beware of persuasive techniques
- Recognize bias in themselves and others
- And develop as a thinker
As learners advance, their real-world skills are tested in 6 serious games and a final ultimate gaming challenge where participants must use their critical thinking skills to solve the “Robbery on the R.E.D. Royale!” As participants track their progress through each level, they gain an increasing ability to think critically – and to use that skill in their day-to-day jobs. They become better thinkers in any situation that requires analysis and sound conclusions.
Critical Thinking University has the feel of a personalized classroom experience. Participants follow a self-paced lesson path with each critical thinking course building on the other. Participants also receive a free online download of the book Now You’re Thinking! and access to an online book club to discuss their thoughts as they read the story of heroism and effective thinking. And they receive coaching—and engage with other participants—through unique social learning opportunities, including online forums, webinars, wikis, and other informal learning.
Time to Complete
Critical Thinking University can be accessed anywhere, anytime. And it can be incorporated into your existing training programs for a blended learning option. Each course takes approximately 1 hour to complete. However, actual time spent will vary based on the learner’s participation in social learning activities.
Critical Thinking Zone
Pearson’s RED critical thinking model – Recognize Assumptions, Evaluate Arguments, Draw Conclusions – is a breakthrough in approaching what until now has been a mostly abstract and elusive concept: Improving your thinking.
This is the ability to separate fact from opinion. It is deceptively easy to listen to a comment or presentation and assume the information presented is true even though no evidence was given to back it up. Noticing and questioning assumptions helps to reveal information gaps or unfounded logic. Taking it a step further, when we examine assumptions through the eyes of different people (e.g., the viewpoint of different stakeholders), the end result is a richer perspective on a topic.
How to use it: When you’re gathering information, listening to what people say, or assessing a situation, think about what assumptions you have going in. Perhaps you assume that a trusted co-worker is providing reliable information – but is there really evidence to back that up? Learn to see gaps in logic, and opinion disguised as fact.
The art of evaluating arguments entails analyzing information objectively and accurately, questioning the quality of supporting evidence, and understanding how emotion influences the situation. Common barriers include confirmation bias, or allowing emotions-yours or others-to get in the way of objective evaluation. People may quickly come to a conclusion simply to avoid conflict. Being able to remain objective and sort through the validity of different positions helps people draw more accurate conclusions.
How to use it: We often have problems sorting through conflicting information because unknowingly let our emotions get in the way, or because – like just about everyone – we sometimes only hear what we want to hear. Learn how to push all that aside, and analyze information accurately and objectively.
People who possess this skill are able to bring diverse information together to arrive at conclusions that logically follow from the available evidence, and they do not inappropriately generalize beyond the evidence. Furthermore, they will change their position when the evidence warrants doing so. They are often characterized as having “good judgment” because they typically arrive at a quality decision.
How to use it: This is the payoff. When you think critically, the true picture become clear, and you can make the tough decision, or solve a difficult problem.
Start by assessing your current level of critical thinking using the The Watson-Glasor Critical Thinking Appraisal