1 Utrecht University of Applied Sciences (NETHERLANDS)
2 University of Melbourne (AUSTRALIA)
3 Princeton University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 5145-5150
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
Critical thinking has grown increasingly central in undergraduate education. Many students struggle to reason clearly, to structure and analyse argumentation, and fail to pick up these transferable skills without dedicated practice. However, most dedicated courses to improve students' critical thinking have only limited result in learning outcomes.

We present a method to teach critical thinking that has been shown to be very effective. This method emphasises deliberate practice of reasoning skills by argument mapping, a technique to visualise the underlying logic of argumentation. Empirical evidence suggests that practice with argument maps results in improved critical thinking, as measured by various standardised tests. This improvement is seen also in situations where students are not using argument maps.

We present software, Rationale, that has been developed to facilitate the implementation of this technique into teaching practice, and show how it has been used in classrooms internationally. Furthermore, we present an innovative experimental course currently underway, which combines argument mapping with a number of pedagogical techniques such as mastery learning, peer instruction and peer assessment in a varied range of higher education institutions.
Critical Thinking, Higher Education, Generic Skills, Argumentation, Academic Writing, Reasoning, Software, Online Learning, Course Development, Mastery Learning.