So you think you can think critically? I thought I could, too. As a college student, I had been tasked with making a handful of life-changing decisions in the past couple of years: What should my major be? To which schools should I apply? Which internships are right for me? With such important decisions behind me, I could only hope I had been equipped with the proper critical thinking skills to come to sound conclusions. It was the Critical Thinking University (CTU), Pearson’s online training program for critical thinking, which opened my eyes to my decision-making weaknesses.
Sitting in on the CTU orientation webcast, I thought to myself, “I don’t need this training. I have so much decision-making experience there is nothing for me to learn. Completing this program is going to be a piece of cake. Thinking critically is easy!” With some luck, I scored fairly well on my CTU pre-test, which further reinforced for me my lack of need for training in critical thinking.
It was with this arrogant mindset that I worked through the first course in the CTU entitled, ironically, What’s the Point? I listened less than intently to the lesson and worked through the interactive real-life business scenarios quickly. Then, came the first checkpoint quiz and my first checkpoint quiz score: 50%. I was taken aback. I could not believe it. I had failed! Thankfully for me, the CTU is a learning platform and permits participants more than one attempt at each checkpoint quiz. I took full advantage of this allowance and completely started over.
Humbled, I took my time going over the first course again and had to laugh at the irony of the content. I learned that the “R” in the RED model referred to “Recognizing assumptions,” a crucial step in critical thinking and something that my failing to do had cost me a good mark on my first checkpoint quiz. Had I only recognized my own assumptions that I had excellent critical thinking skills and that the CTU would be simple, I might have scored better than a 50%. From that point on, I did score better than a 50%. In fact, by the time I had completed the program, my critical thinking skills had improved so much that I earned a perfect score on the post-test.
So you think you can think critically? I thought I could, too. But now I really can! As a college student, I will have an array of life-altering decisions to make in the near future: What kind of job is right for me? At which companies should I apply to work? Should I further my education? At this deciding time in my life, the CTU and the RED model have given me the tools to make decisions for my future in a way that is proven to work. Don’t let your assumptions hold you back from becoming a better critical thinker. Start your CTU training today!
About the Author: Melanie Welsh is a Marketing Intern at Pearson TalentLens. She has an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration and is currently working on a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Marketing at Delaware Valley College. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more about her experience and goals.