Designing Instruction for Critical Thinking: A Case of a Graduate Course on Evaluation of Training

Aubteen Darabi
Florida State University

Logan Arrington
Florida State University

As students graduate and enter the workforce, they face the job market’s demand for critical thinking (CT) skills. The demand is caused by the market’s increasing need for providing professional services that require performing complex tasks. In response to this demand, institutions of higher education are expected to prepare their graduate through incorporating courses in their curricula that promote CT skills. While the definition of CT is contested across various scientific fields, several approaches to designing CT-based instruction have been proposed. This paper presents an application case of “immersion” and “infusion” approaches, borrowed from Ennis (1989), to a graduate course on evaluation of training and examines the results in terms of the critical thinking VALUE rubric developed by the American Colleges and Universities (AACU). We contend that successful application of these approaches depends heavily on relevant complex scaffolds that induce learners’ immersion in CT and allow infusion of instructional features that support their CT activities. In our case, we used Systems Thinking to scaffold learners’ immersion and adopted Human Performance Technology (HPT) to infuse learning activities aimed at CT. We finally examined our procedures and outcomes by using the AACU Value Rubric milestones.

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