Creating Social Spaces to Facilitate Reflective Learning On-Line
Center for Social Informatics
Bloomington, IN 47405
An earlier version of this essay was delivered at "Learning 2000: Reassessing the Virtual University," Virginia Tech, September 27-October 1,
When this paper was first conceived last Spring, my colleague Rob Kling and I intended to discuss some of the socio-technical challenges we
faced as educators to create the social spaces that ensured reflective learning at the graduate level in a web-based environment. Our own
experiences reinforced the conclusion that effective learning experiences were dependent on a large array of factors related to higher education
institutions . This past summer, however, I moved from Florida State University School of Information Studies to Indiana University School of
Library and Information Science (SLIS). That move interrupted my analysis of two years worth of data on student learning in a web-based,
graduate level introductory research methods course that I had taught at Florida State and had intended to present at this conference. During this
transition I radically revised my fall semester's course in information policy whose syllabus and resources were to be available at SLIS's web
site. This process had the serendipitous effect of forcing me to rethink the paper.
What I began to understand, as we moved into the first weeks of the Fall 2000 semester, was that Rob and I had identified the problem correctly
as one of "creating online social spaces for reflective learning at the graduate level," but that perhaps our focus was somewhat misplaced. It was
not so much the socio-technical interactions, which are, as we know, significant, but, instead, the more philosophically grounded issues related
to pedagogy about how to nurture reflective thinking and learning within a community of practice.
My talk identifies only a few of these issues that we need to attend to more explicitly as we develop the "Virtual University" at the graduate level,
so that our instruction represents more than a "continuing education" program of certification through multiple choice and standardized testing.
My claim is that we need to focus on what constitutes effective pedagogy and learning and whether we are succeeding as instructors,
independent of the mode of transmission.
I make no pretense of offering anything new. On the issue of "critical thinking," there is an extensive literature reflecting a large body of more than
forty years of research in cognitive and social psychology and educational research. There have also been extensive methodological
investigations designed to measure educational performance and outcomes. There is an important literature, perhaps less well known, on
"communities of practice" that has begun to influence the thinking of a number of information and social scientists over the last several years. I
think we ought to be paying close attention to all these different domains of knowledge, but particularly the work on communities of practice,
because of the insights it provides about the social dimensions of learning and their connections to the educational institution and its place in
A. What Do We Know: On Schooling, Motivation, and Research on Web-based Learning
1. A large array of studies conducted nationally and internationally for more than 30 years on the cognitive accomplishments of our students has
examined what contributes to preparation for postsecondary and graduate education. There is incontrovertible evidence that a very large
number of students are not prepared for the intellectual rigor of university life, and that this lack of preparation may be traced to a host of
antecedents. These include, for example, level of parental involvement; inadequate school district funding and classroom resources; deficits in
the curriculum of K-12 education; quality of teacher education programs and prior training before entering the classroom; and types of parental
and peer networks (see Carbonaro, 1998, 1999; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1998a, 1998b, 1999; Hauser et al., 1997; Haveman & Wolfe,
1994; Holloway, 2000; Morgan & Sorensen, 1999; Schemo, 2000; U.S. Administration of Children and Families, 1999; U.S. Department of
Education, 1999a, 1999b). Bagherian & Thorngate's (2000) analysis of student use of course listservs, Robinson's (2000) time-budget
research, and Bennett's (1998) analysis of mass media use by adults and young people are only three studies among many that identify the
economies of time and attention as critical factors, whereby part-time jobs, television-watching, and other activities have been substituted for
time spent on homework and (leisure) reading to the detriment of learning and what appears to be a diminished vocabulary (Alvin, 1991; Glenn,
1999; Kilpatrick, 2000) and a decline in analytical skills.
All this evidence is very interesting, and much of it is persuasive. Anecdotal evidence also supports the assessment that students appear less
prepared than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Among ourselves we hear talk about the "dumbing down" of courses and reductions in the amount
of reading, writing, and research assignments. Ultimately, however, the real issue is what to do about all of it. That is, how do we translate an
enormous body of evidence of deficits among our students into usable knowledge whose goal is to create competent students?
2. We share many stories about student disengagement, apathy, and non-participation in our classes. If motivation plays a central role in
preparation for schooling and higher order analytical skills and we want students to be curious, problem-solvers, and motivated to learn and to
value learning, then we need to understand why students are not stimulated. Oddly enough, there is not a great deal of empirical research in this
area, particularly from the student perspective. However, the research conducted by Garson (1997), Mayer and Coleman (2000), Howard and
Short (1996), and Fassinger (1995) is very useful for showing the persistence of this tendency, the multiple explanations given by students for
nonparticipation, and how students' conceptions of the classroom influence their participation; and, from their analyses, how instructors must
revise their roles in order to promote effective learning.
Garson's (1997) pre- and post-test evaluation of a traditional and web-based introductory political science course found that motivation was a
very important factor, independent of the format of the course. For example, students recognized that they needed the mandatory requirement of
class attendance as motivation for attendance both in the traditional classroom setting as well as in the web environment. Although the
web-based multi-media environment was hypothesized to provide opportunities for more engagement with the subject matter, the convenience
of accessing materials was rated more positively than the medium's capability for increasing the student's interest in the subject. In a later article,
Garson (1999) again commented on this lack of interest by students in his analysis of the claims made by computer technology advocates,
remarking that, "Hypermedia has proven much less popular than originally expected as it has been found that online learners minimize their use
of non-required exploratory hyperlinks and instead prefer clear objectives arranged in a linear fashion."
Mayer and Coleman's (2000) study of student attitudes toward technology in the large introductory U.S. government course also discovered
indirectly that student motivation plays an important role. These instructors found that class attendance declined as more information about
lectures was made available to students on the web. The more detailed the notes placed on the course web page became, the greater the
"likelihood that students would consider skipping class and relying exclusively on the contents of the slide" (p. 601).
The Fassinger (1995) and Howard and Short (1996) research augment our understanding of the classroom setting and how context and
motivation are related. They show that the classroom setting is a negotiated social order. Student involvement takes place according to
interaction norms and the emotional climate of the classroom that are created by both students and instructor. Student preparation and
student-to-student interactions "significantly shape class involvement" (Fassinger, 1995, p. 25). Peer behavior shapes the degree to which
students are involved, as much as the instructor's stance toward learning and student participation. How then do we create reflective social
spaces if a good bit of what takes place in the classroom is not dependent on what the instructor does?
3. A principal finding from a very small subset of recently conducted research on web-based learning and pedagogy finds little evidence at this
time to support the assessment that web-based instruction represents effective pedagogy and learning. Overall, most of the assessments of
educational performance (or the so-called "outcomes")that have been conducted do little more than identify levels of student satisfaction or test
the acquisition of information that is the hallmark of student surveys and standardized tests. Assessment of the latter has been premised on a
definition of competency that is operationalized as the acquisition of facts about a subject domain. Assessment of levels of satisfaction provides
no guidance on what students have actually learned, although it is often informative about the entertainment value of schooling. Measuring levels
of satisfaction or the number of facts correctly identified can, however, be easily implemented with computer technology.
A great deal of time and energy over the last five years has been devoted to assessing educational performance between web-based
(hypermedia) and traditional classroom instruction. The research literature on the hypermedia instructional environment has, by and large,
demonstrated "no significant differences" or that its benefits are "at best inconclusive" (Dillon & Gabbard, 1998, p. 1). There is no doubt in my
mind that these results are due to failures of conceptualization of the problem and inappropriate measurement tools. Dillon and Gabbard (1998)
reviewed the research literature and found that most of the studies had significant design flaws. After examining the "well-conceived"
experimental studies on learner comprehension, control, and style in the hypertext medium, the one conclusive finding concerned the relationship
between ability and performance. High ability learners performed better than low ability learners and active learners performed better than
passive learners, regardless of the medium of instruction. Dillon and Gabbard commented that, "Most educators were aware that multiple forces
shape learning outcomes" (p. 1) and concluded that, "We should not pin undue hope on any technology or presentation yielding major
breakthroughs on education outcomes" (p. 20).
Brower and Klay's (2001) meta-level review of the research literature reinforced the Dillon and Gabbard assessment of the quality of research on
student performance in a hypermedia environment. Brower and Klay found that most of the research on learning outcomes suffered from
significant analytical and methodological problems, and that the "relative effectiveness of distance education and traditional classrooms" often
appeared to measure little more than "fact-oriented competencies" (p. 8). This research literature also did not assess the "conveyance of
value-based competencies [that have a strong socio-emotional content] for which learning is most dependent on social context" (p. 9). Although
Brower and Klay's review was directed to colleagues in professional schools of public administration, their concerns about "value-based
competencies" is appropriate for educators in all fields and were similarly addressed by a University of Illinois Board of Education (2000) faculty
advisory committee (2000).
Dillon and Gabbard and Brower and Klay findings are also consistent with conclusions of researchers who focused on the conceptual structure
underlying pedagogy at a sample of web sites and criticisms of competency-based objectives that undergirds distance learning instruction.
Mioduser and colleagues (2000) recently investigated 436 educational web-based sites for mathematics, science, and technology learning in
primary and secondary schools and college/university. They acknowledged that they were "disappointed" with what they found. Based on a
taxonomy designed to analyze and evaluate the pedagogical, knowledge, and communication dimensions, most of the educational sites they
examined did not "yet exhibit evidence of current pedagogical approaches (e.g, use of inquiry-based activities, application of constructivist
learning principles, and use of alternative evaluation methods)" that are assumed to influence how well students learn (p. 1). The results of their
investigation, they wrote, could perhaps be best summarized as "one step ahead for technology, two steps back for the pedagogy" (p. 2).
Garson's (1999) review of computerized instruction supports the Mioduser findings. Garson found that, for the most part, its pedagogical
foundation rested on competency-based objectives, the testing of domain-specific facts, knowledge, and cognitive skills. He argued that this
form of pedagogy was "sharply at variance with learning needs in an era of rapid change when the specific is transient and the abstract is that
which must carry the learner through a lifetime of education and re-education" (p. 10).
4. These evaluations by Dillon and Gabbard, Brower and Klay, Mioduser and colleagues, and Garson are not unique in their assessment of the
quality of instruction that takes place in the hypermedia environment. What I find more useful, however, is that they direct our attention to what I
believe should be the focus, indeed, central to our assessment of the "Virtual University."
This is its mission, independent of the word "Virtual." In other words, I believe?even though I am someone who philosophically cannot conceive
of technology as independent of social practices?that our assessment of "virtual education" requires that we first unpack the phrase into its
component parts. That is, we must analytically separate the delivery system medium and mode of packaging that "virtual" implies from the
institution's programmatic mission, which is implied in the word "university." Of course, I do not contend that we ignore the mediating role of
technology and that its mediation occurs differently in different environments and, moreover, that technology is potentially transformative of social
relations. My argument is, rather, that we return to "first principles," the premises on which higher education is based. We must ask questions
that get at "purpose": what we are about, our intentions, expectations, hopes, and so on.
I want to suggest, further, that we are being derailed from pursuing answers to fundamental questions about the role of university education by
the noisy hype and hyperbole of utopian and dystopian visions of the new technology, the commodization of instruction and commercialization of
education, and poorly conceived research designed to demonstrate "no significant differences" as a response to the political pressures of
measuring educational performance and outcomes. Threats that incite fear that distance education technology represents the end of higher
education as we know it are disingenuous.
Unfortunately, most of what has transpired on the distance education-as-technology-innovation front has been a vociferous, sometimes
intemperate and tiresome debate between true believers and skeptics about the value of distance education technology. War stories about the
closing of hundreds of colleges are used to incite fears that distance education spells disaster for post-secondary institutions which cannot
"compete efficiently in the marketplace" and to exhort educators to reconceptualize education as a consumer good. Institutions are being
pressured to introduce "virtual universities" in higher education without cost-benefit analysis, quality control, or a research base for policy
decisions. Little if any empirical evidence exists to support or disconfirm the position of either side.
What we can say with some amount of certainty is history shows that educational reform has proven to be extraordinarily contentious, most
reforms have not been successful in meeting their objectives, and political and social institutions have proved to be remarkably resilient and
resistant to change. And, as yet, based on my and others' experience, distance education technology, through its alleged potential for
economies of scale and mass customization, has not enhanced academic productivity. Not withstanding, none of this implies that
post-secondary institutions do not face challenges to their "dominant assumptions and characteristics," or that new organizational forms will not
What gets lost in Noble's (1998a, 1998b, 1998c, 1999) polemical critiques about online instruction and the other tracts that convey the
"institutional and cultural sources of resistance and opposition" (Jaffee, 1998) and surveys that reflect faculty ambivalence toward distance
education (Schmidt et al., 2000) is the following: we need to consider what constitutes quality in higher education and how we achieve it. As
academics, we need to reflect on the university's mission and role in society, on our identity as academics in the context of pedagogy and
learning, and on the values that we transmit as instructors, citizens, and members of society. I do not think that we move our institutions forward
by overemphasizing or focusing exclusively on the political content of authority relations. The current discourse of justification and
counter-arguments about the digital instructional environment is less than useful.
Yes, of course, it is important to understand what generates this resistance that Jaffee attends to. He is correct: ideological stance does count.
And, yes, this resistance to distance learning can be understood as a "historical attachment to the physical classroom environment," a "value
and norm-laden contextual milieu" (p. 1) that carries potent symbolic meaning. Bound up in the faculty's conception of the classroom as a
"sacred institution" (p. 1) is her "identity as an expert, as a source of knowledge and information, that is heavily shaped and reinforced" (p. 5)
through her role and the social relations inside the classroom. "The students in the classroom represent a mirror that shapes the ?looking-glass
self' and the professorial identity" (p. 5). How a faculty member presents herself in the classroom does affect learning. What information is
conveyed and how the instructor conveys that information influence understandings of what should be attended to and what can be ignored.
There is, as Dillon and Gabbard (1998) state, "a tremendous need for a richer understanding of the learning process beyond how information
presentation and access can enhance the educational experience." Beyond Jaffee's identification of the politics of resistance and its
consequences, his analysis is helpful because he also directs our attention to the classroom, whether that space is bricks and mortar or virtual. In
other words, our assessment of the educational experience should not be framed by a particular medium of instruction, but by what we need to
know about learning processes, outcomes, and opportunities within a social context.
Redirecting our attention to the social space asks us to reflect on, to examine what transpires inside it in order to understand how to transform
pedagogy and learning. Understanding what is constitutive of the classroom is a necessary first step to produce the educational outcomes that
are stated in the "learning goals and objectives" statement at the beginning of our syllabus and subsequent institutional change . We need to
understand the nature of the social relations, the quality of the interactions, and of communication and how to ensure communicative
competence, which includes the exchange of information, knowledge, experience, and creation of skills. We need to understand the complex
relationships of cognitive tasks, socio-emotional aspects of learning, and the social context of learning, in order to create those social spaces for
reflective learning by our students.
B. Pedagogical Goals of Higher Education
I believe that our dialogue needs to be about what we want to accomplish as educators. We also need a philosophical commitment to a
pedagogy of inquiry-based learning because it appears that active involvement in the construction of knowledge, interaction with peers and
experts (collaborative learning), distributed cognition, scaffolding, and the adaptation of instruction to individual needs are essential to forming
competent individuals . Inquiry-based learning is active, dynamic, and engages all the senses, and is dependent on dialogic and reflective
thinking activity between/with/of student and self, student and writer (of the text), student and teacher, and student and peers (Huitt, 1998;
Chaffee, 1994; Ruggiero, 1998; Vygotsky, 1986).
1. Our first obligation as educators is the development of a cognitive capacity to reason and make sense of the world, in other words, the
development of competencies that result from the acquisition of critical, reflective, and creative thinking skills. We want our students to learn
skills that will develop the "habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behavior" (Scriven & Paul).
There is an enormous literature that has accumulated on "critical thinking" which has largely been designed for teaching at the K-12 level.
Postsecondary educators, including graduate level instructors, would benefit by becoming informed about this literature and the substantial
efforts made to develop pedagogical tools that create an active learning experience. Huitt (2000) has developed a very useful web site with links
to the literature on critical thinking, so it is not necessary for me to reproduce his efforts in this paper. In particular, I urge readers to examine the
"Taxonomy of Educational Objectives" developed by Bloom (1956) which describes the core concepts of the "cognitive domain." It is,
nonetheless, useful to reproduce the action verbs that define the attributes of critical thinking (Figure 1) and creative thinking (Figure 2).
That key attribute of critical thinking, "evaluation," implies questioning the status quo of all authority; after all, good reasons have to be given.
Said another way by John Dewey (1910, p. 25) in How We Think, the role of education is
not only [to] safeguard an individual against the besetting erroneous tendencies of his own mind?its rashness, presumption, and
preference of what chimes with self-interest to objective evidence?but also to undermine and destroy the accumulated and
self-perpetuating prejudices of long ages...The work of teaching must not only transform natural tendencies into trained habits of thought,
but must also fortify the mind against irrational tendencies current in the social environment, and help displace erroneous habits already
2. Dewey, as well as Mead (1962) and Vygotsky (1962), also made clear that the analytical distinction between what is cognitive and what is
social is ultimately, however, not helpful for understanding how students learn because it risks ignoring that learning is inherently social, whether
carried out through conversations with the self, in the formal setting of the classroom, in groups, or in the workplace. The cognitive and the social
are mutually dependent.
Competency, that "habit of the mind" described by Scriven and Paul, is both individual and social (Archambault, 1966, p. xii). The social aspect
derives from our participation in human groups, from whom values are transmitted and commitments made to moral and ethical principles of a
democratic society (Dewey & Dewey, 1915). The University of Illinois Board of Higher Education Faculty Advisory Committee on Quality in
Higher Education (2000, p. 1) acknowledged the importance of a positive set of values which included "recognizing...the accomplishments of
those from other cultures and living in a multicultural society." While recognizing the importance of technological skills, the Committee privileged
the "so-called soft skills of ethics, open-mindedness, persuasiveness, problem solving and leadership" (p. 2). Their remarks are echoed by
public administration educators Brower and Klay (2001, p. 9) who identify the "socio-emotional dimensions" of value-based competencies for
public administration, which include "leadership, moral choice, conflict resolution, team building, and creative problem solving in small groups."
Thus, acknowledging the "social" dimension reinforces the claim that there is more to learning than domain-specific facts, knowledge, and
cognitive skills achieved by an individual. And, indeed, this is Garson's (1999) critique of an instruction that rests on competency-based
objectives, for implicit in his remarks is that schooling must develop the capacity for tolerating uncertainty and ambiguity that is the hallmark of
The University of Illinois Faculty Advisory Committee also identified and extended the competencies of critical thinking and creativity to include
collaboration (teamwork) and communication. The Committee recognized that these competencies are necessary in today's society and in the
workplace, noting that "cooperative effort by members of a group to achieve a common goal is vital to success in virtually every field."(p. 2).
What Brower and Klay, Garson, and the University of Illinois faculty committee suggest to us is that our role as educators is, quite simply, a
restatement of Dewey's precept, that the goal of education is to "prepare [our students] for the life they are to lead in the world" (Dewey &
Dewey, 1915, p. 207).
For recent empirical evidence of the importance of these skills and values, it is instructive to examine the research investigations of Kling and his
colleagues (2000a, 2000b, 2000c), who are studying the development of electronic media to support scholarly communication and the
development of collaboration infrastructures in the fields of high energy physics, molecular biology, materials science, and information systems.
Kling and McKim's (2000a, pp. 1313-1314) research finds that "trust in communication" is an important defining characteristic of whether
scientists view electronic media as legitimate. Kling and his colleagues (2000b) concluded that the success of large-scale, highly complex,
interdisciplinary projects is dependent on the establishment of social relationships. It is "social interactions [that] energize collaboratory life"; and
that "helpfulness and skills in collaboration may be the lure that draws and maintains collaboratories" (p. 3).
3. The legitimacy of electronic publication media and the success of collaboratories that Kling and his colleagues describe rest on the
socialization of graduate students into a community of practice. Socialization creates identity. Competency is thus not just about skills
acquisition, but induction into a culture and a history of philosophies about what a field represents.
I share Brower and Clay's (20001) view that how we as educators convey the core values of our profession is of central importance. This aspect
of what we need to understand is probably more relevant to those of us who teach at the graduate level. However, we need to consider this in
every course that we teach, for what we teach sets forth the norms and values of the profession and introduces students to the arguments and
debates about what constitutes knowledge and appropriate behaviors.
We want our students to learn and practice a craft. Although Bourdieu and Passeron's (1977) work seems to suggest that education as
"reproduction"means domination and subjugation of the social classes, Wenger's (1998) conception of the meaning of a community of practice
reflects more accurately what I have in mind about our responsibility as educators. That is, we inculcate the values of our professions through
mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and a shared repertoire (p. 73). Pedagogy is thus about engaging our students in professional practice,
transmitting intellectual traditions, and their learning a discourse, roles, and dispositions?in other words, the production of culture and collective
knowledge (cf. Mills, 1959; Alford 1998).
C. What Must Be Done
As someone who is both a traditional classroom and web-based instructor, I believe that we confront the issues I have discussed this afternoon
irrespective of the mode of instructional delivery. In one form or another, whether in the classroom or through correspondence courses or
telephone or interactive television, technology has always been embedded in the learning environment and has mediated the relationship
between the student and teacher/instructor.
We need to reorient ourselves as practitioners of an honorable profession and focus on the challenges that Wenger writes about in
Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. They are: to be inventive and enthusiastic about what we love best, so that we
engage our students; to open their horizons, so that they can put themselves on learning trajectories that they can identify with; and to involve
them in actions, discussions, and reflections that make a difference to the communities that they value. Wenger's wise words in his "synthesis"
chapter on "Design for Learning" are a manifesto to action:
Learning cannot be designed. Ultimately, it belongs to the realm of experience and practice. It follows the negotiation of meaning; it moves
on its own terms. It slips through the cracks; it creates its own cracks. Learning happens, design or no design. And yet there are few more
urgent tasks than to design social infrastructures that foster learning...Those who can understand the informal yet structured, experiential
yet social, character of learning ? and can translate their insight into designs in the service of learning ? will be the architects of our
tomorrow. (p. 225)
I thank my mother Miriam Aaron and colleagues Robert Alford, Ralph Brower, Daniel Callison, Elizabeth Davenport, William Huitt, Rob Kling,
and Susan Losh for stimulating face-to-face, telephone, and email conversations about what we are trying to accomplish as educators. I thank
the organizers of the Learning 2000 conference, especially Tim Luke, for encouraging me to present this paper.
Essay completed December 11, 2000.
 A social informatics perspective makes clear that the successful adoption of any particular technology?whether telephony or web-based
instruction?is contingent on a very large array of factors whose interactions and consequences are not predictable (Kling, 1999, 2000a). The
availability of technology is not a key causal variable for success. Instead, a complex and interactive array of multi-level system, institutional,
organizational, social, and cognitive factors influence whether technological innovation will be successfully adopted or not (Robbin, 1997).
Instructional delivery "any time, any where, any place" is fully dependent on the political environment, public infrastructure, and structural
complexity of postsecondary institutions. For example, we observe that state legislatures and higher education administrators have promoted
distance education as a way to reduce expenditures for higher education, based on assumptions of cost-savings and effectiveness that would
take place by eliminating the traditional "bricks and mortar" of the university campus. However, reductions in funding higher education have not
led to cost-savings and have only increased pressures on educational institutions. Building the educational institution's information infrastructure
has led to trade-offs (read, reductions) in funding of traditional programs. Most information is not published on the web and, consequently, capital
expenditures for the construction and stocking of libraries can not be eliminated. Nor can the high expenditure of labor be reduced by eliminating
librarians who are a source of expertise about information. Librarians are a critical source of expertise because they apply quality control to the
information that has flooded the web (Kling, 2000b; Keller, 2000). Legislators and administrators have not anticipated the substantial initial and
continuing technical R&D support for creating the information infrastructure for instruction and for supporting course development and revisions
for courses whose content requires frequent revisions of subject matter to remain timely. They also do not understand that the web information
available on the web does not eliminate the need for libraries. Market-driven forces have increasingly pressed for large class sizes, although
research shows that students learn more effectively when class sizes are small (see McKeachie, 1999). We have also learned that quality is
compromised when class sizes are large in the web environment. Assumptions about the level of technological knowledge has meant that the
technological needs of students have often been nearly invisible to instructors and administrators (Hara & Kling, 2000). The web-based
environment has also resulted in an unanticipated, immensely labor-intensive workload relative to face-to-face instruction (Bagherian &
Thorngate, 2000). We concurred with the conclusion of a University of Illinois faculty committee (1998, p. 2): that, "High quality online teaching is
time and labor intensive, it is not [therefore] likely to be the income source envisioned by some administrators. Teaching the same number of
students online at the same level of quality as in the classroom requires more time and money."
. I don't want to pursue the serious issue of significant lacunae in pedagogical training by university instructors which contributes, in my view, to
this failure of learning outcomes.
. For useful elaborations on these principles, see Cicourel (1990), Lave (1988, 1998), Lave and Wenger (1991), Hutchins (1991, 1996), and
Davenport and Hall (2001).
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Figure 1. Critical Thinking Skills
"Active Interaction with Knowledge"
Sources: Johnson, A.P. (2000). Up and out: Using creative and critical thinking skills to enhance learning. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, pp.
- Infer (go beyond what available information to identify what may reasonably be true)
- Compare (similarities)
- Compare and Contrast (similarities and differences)
- Analyze (break an item or event into its component parts)
- Support a Statement (use appropriate reasons, detail, or example to support a statement or conclusion)
- Make a Decision (examine options and alternatives in order to decide on a course of action)
- Order (given a criterion, arrange events, concepts, or items in sequential order based on that criterion)
- Evaluate/Critique (define a criterion and assess subject relative to, compared to, etc.)
- Impose Order/Create "Groups" (identify and classify common themes or patterns)
- Investigate (find information to answer a question)
- Experiment (ask question, collect data, organize data, answer question)
46-49; Brown, M. N., & Keeley, S. M. (1986). Asking the right question: A guide to critical thinking. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, p. 2.
Figure 2. CREATIVE THINKING SKILLS
(Idea Generation and Integration, or Seeing Things In a New Way)
- Fluency (develop/brainstorm as many ideas as possible)
- Flexibility (create a variety of approaches)
- Elaboration (embellish/make more interesting an original idea)
- Originality (produce original or unique ideas)
- Creative Problem Solving (generate solutions to a problem)
- Integration (connect or combine two or more things to create a whole)
- Web and Brainstorm (identify an idea and related sub-ideas)
- Generate Relationships (find and describe related items or events)
Source: Johnson, A.P. (2000). Up and out: Using creative and critical thinking skills to enhance learning. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, pp.