Making the case for critical thinking in higher education

2 months ago · by timo · 0 comments »

Anybody that is looking for information to make the case for critical thinking in a curriculum within higher education should read this article of Martin Davies in the Conversation of November 22.

The article contains a lot of useful information and links.E.g.: ' A 2015 report by the Foundation for Young Australians claims demand for critical thinking skills in new graduates has risen 158% in three years. This data was drawn from an analysis of 4.2 million online job postings from 6,000 different sources in the period 2012-2015.'

A graph from The New Basic reports by the Foundation for Young Australians

Martin Davies has written some other interesting articles on critical thinking and critical thinking & argument mapping:


Rationale Newsletter April 2016

10 months ago · by Rationale · 0 comments »

In this issue of the Rationale Newsletter:

  • Spanish Tutorials online
  • New features in Rationale
  • Research snippets
  • Customer feedback

Spanish Tutorials

Now online: the Spanish version of all three tutorials in Rationale. Thank you, David Montoya & Gissella Mejia of Translation Boutique, for your work!

Please let Spanish speaking educators in your network know that Rationale is now also available to Spanish speaking students.

Let us know if you have suggestions for corrections or improvements to the available translations.


New features:

  • Turkish maps: when you choose Turkish as a language you can use Turkish logical indicators.
  • We added 'Recent documents' to the Rationale editor: open recently used maps with one mouse click in your editor (no need to open your My maps): go to File / Open../ Recent documents.

Research snippets:


Customer Feedback:

Matthew Rappel (Hong Kong Island IS): 'Rationale is exactly what is needed for the IB - ATL program because you can develop these skills with Rationale in an integrated way in a whole curriculum’.


When you have suggestions for interesting posts, please let us know.

The Rationale team


Argument mapping with paper & pencil or Rationale?

11 months ago · by timo · 0 comments »

There is abundant empirical evidence that argument mapping (AM) really can work for developing critical thinking skills ( why 'can'? : you need to exercise a lot and receive timely, good-quality feedback).

As Tim van Gelder writes in this review of empirical research on the impact of AM instruction:

“Indeed, at this stage it seems fair to say that high-intensity AM-based instruction is one of the most effective techniques we know for accelerating CT skill gains in higher education.”

Maralee Harrell noted in her paper No Computer Program Required: Even Pencil-and-Paper Argument Mapping Improves Critical Thinking Skills (2008), that you can map arguments using paper & pencil or software.
She wrote:

‘’To my knowledge there has been no research to determine whether the crucial factor is the mere ability to construct argument maps, or the aid of a computer platform and tutor, or possibly both.’’

In the online journal Education Technology Research & Development of February 2016 Maryam Eftekhari , Elaheh Sotoudehnama and S. Susan Marandi (English Language Department, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran) just published a research paper in which they try to answer this question, using Rationale.

Their conclusion: ‘’Results suggested that students in the software group significantly outperformed those in the paper and pencil group on overall CCTST and the sub-skills of inference and inductive reasoning. They also scored significantly higher on all tests compared to the comparison group.’’

For their paper see here.


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