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The Pedagogy of Critical Thinking: Object Design Implications for Improving Students' Thoughtful Engagement within E-Learning Environment

Optimizing Learning with Digital Readers Volume ISSN 1548-6613


In this paper, the author described how a model of teaching critical thinking couples with the development of learning objects may help respond to broader calls for critical thinking both as a central goal in education and as a key aspect in the ecology of 21st century e-learning environment. The model developed by the Canadian Critical Thinking Consortium is organized around a framework of four parts and involves embedding five categories of intellectual tools into the teaching of curriculum content. These tools for thought include addressing the need to focus critical inquiry on relevant background knowledge, using criteria for judgment, explicitly addressing thinking concepts, using specific thinking strategies and supporting the development of certain habits of mind. This model is informing a development project focused on designing objects that the author believes advance opportunities to teach critical thinking and better engage students. The project is a part of on-going efforts to design objects that advance "Type II" and generative characterizations and that better engage students in critical inquiry into content, support active learning, provide an extensive range of acceptable responses, involve creative tasks and require extended periods of time to complete. Although the development project is in-progress and yet to be assessed, the author offered a description of four of the objects while discussing implications of the conceptual model in their design. The author also addressed the need to assess the efficacy of using such objects to support instruction by briefly outlining a companion project where we are developing new measures to evaluate use of these objects. (Contains 2 tables and 3 figures.) [This project was funded by BC Campus.]


Balcaen, P.L. (2010). The Pedagogy of Critical Thinking: Object Design Implications for Improving Students' Thoughtful Engagement within E-Learning Environment. Optimizing Learning with Digital Readers. Retrieved April 8, 2020 from .

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