London, February 6, 2019
Critical thinking skills – such as identifying misuse of information, weighing up evidence and detecting flaws in someone else’s reasoning – all feature in a new online Critical Thinking course launched to schools and universities by learning innovator, EtonX.
The seven-week online course in Critical Thinking is open to young people in the 14–20 age group anywhere in the world. It uses a mix of interactive learning content and weekly live online group classes to help children learn and practise critical thinking and evaluation skills. These competencies are increasing seen by educators and employers alike as vital to teenagers making the transition from school to university studies and making progress in the workplace.
The course’s live classes develop skills including identifying fallacious arguments, using evidence, problem solving, evaluating data and recognising alternative perspectives and confirmation bias. Completing the course will enable teenagers and university entrants to evaluate online information and academic course materials and identify poorly-constructed arguments. In addition, students will develop their awareness of how emotion and bias can influence their own and other people’s thinking. This can help new recruits understand people’s behaviour in different workplace situations.
Critical thinking, along with the other ‘four Cs’ subjects ‒ creativity, communications and collaboration ‒ is often cited by policymakers, teachers, and employers as one of the keys to young people being able to apply logical reasoning and make informed decisions in their studies or at work.¹
EtonX, a subsidiary of Eton College, has launched the course to fill gaps in the education market for critical thinking skills courses and help students that can’t access these type of courses in regular school time.
In a 2014 global survey of 1000 teachers, 92 per cent said critical thinking is one of the key skills for achieving success in higher education but almost as many ‒ 85 per cent ‒ said it was the skill that young people most conspicuously lack as they begin the next stage of their education.² Critical thinking is a component of many pathway courses run by international universities to ensure that students are ready for undergraduate degree study.
The course forms part of EtonX’s Future Skills Programme – a series of eight online soft skills courses for young people. At the end of the course, students are assessed on how well they apply critical thinking strategies to news articles.
Catherine Whitaker, EtonX CEO and Head of Learning says: “The volume and accessibility of information available to teenagers today means skills like detecting bias or flawed reasoning are more important than ever. Our new Critical Thinking course helps students gain analytical skills which they may not have enough opportunities to develop in their regular school or co-curricular timetable.
“Our interactive materials are exciting and academically rigorous – complex ideas are presented through engaging animated content and the activities give students the opportunity to put their new knowledge into practice immediately.
“Today’s universities and company bosses are choosing the best talent from around the world. Taking our Critical Thinking course will help candidates demonstrate they can think logically and analyse information effectively to help them stand out in this highly-competitive selection process.”
Notes to editors
¹ The World Economic Forum estimates that “By 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling. World Economic Forum, Future of Work Report, September 2018, p ix.
² School leavers lack the critical thinking skills needed for university, exam board warns, TES, 25 January 2014.
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