You will not learn if you think you have learned enough. You will not grow if you are not willing to change yourself.
If you see this as just another quote on learning, I have some news for you!
More often than not, learning is looked at as an independent process, unaffected by any external factor. However, the path a student takes in his learning journey is directly influenced by multiple factors.
And one of the most important, yet often not understood factor being the scope a student gets to experiment and go beyond, which brings me to introduce a rather powerful concept in learning – Critical Thinking.
What is Critical Thinking & Why Is It So Important?
Critical thinking can be defined as the act of breaking down what is taught and reconstructing it to create various other ways to achieve the same output. A culture of critical thinking empowers students to go beyond textbook knowledge, experiment with what’s available, and grow much more than what they usually would.
In e-Learning, Critical Thinking is a major plus to have, if you want your students to excel and grow limitless.
By enabling your students to practice critical thinking, you let them –
Evaluate multiple paths to reach the same outcome
Differentiate between paths based on their feasibility
But how does one inculcate a habit of critical thinking in an online classroom environment? Let’s look at some of the…
Ways to Achieve Critical Thinking in Moodle
Before we look at the different ways, it is important to understand that the most basic building block for a critical thinking environment is Trial and Error. Only when students get the necessary freedom to experiment, to try, fail, try again, and then succeed, will they ever grow beyond the textbook knowledge.
#1 Discussion Board
A great place to start the habit of critical thinking is the Discussion Boards, also referred to as Online Forums.
One of the ways you could utilize forums for critical thinking is making it a habit to use it after the completion of every unit/course.
Every time a unit/course gets completed, you can start off a forum activity, and encourage your students to share their understanding of the unit/course, and also share their thoughts on the understanding of other students.
This way, there’ll be a healthy transfer of thoughts amongst the students, helping them broaden their thinking scope.
Interested to know more about forums, and how they could prove critical for student engagement? We recently did a webinar on the same, here’s where you can check out the webinar video! 😀
#2 Quick Messaging
Another way to achieve critical thinking in your Moodle courses is by making it easier for your students & teachers to reach out to each other.
This can be achieved by ensuring Quick Messaging in your Moodle interface. Once done, your students can then reach out to each other, as per their convenience.
Quick Messaging would help students share their thoughts, viewpoints, and doubts, not just with each other, but also with their teachers if needed.
Nothing works better than giving your students the necessary exposure to the industry, even while they are still undertaking the course. The best way to do it is to create a network that has your students as well as students who are done with the courses.
Doing this will help your current students with a practical understanding of the course content. They also are then able to understand the challenges faced, and the best possible solutions to solve these problems. All of this further broadens the horizon of your students, contributing to critical thinking.
You can achieve this networking in the following ways:
Create a Contact form that students can use to ask their doubts and share their curiosities with the alumni.
Create a dedicated “Our Alumni” section on your Moodle Site Home. This section will have all the necessary contact details of alumni.
Organize Video Conferences using video conferencing tools for Moodle, where your students can interact directly with the alumni.
#4 Additional Resources
The one aspect that differentiates a top student from an average one is Practice.
You can inculcate a culture of critical thinking by sharing additional assignments with your students. Your students can attempt these assignments in their free time. These assignments should ideally include real-time scenarios based on the concept that was recently taught to your students.
Your students will then be in a position where they can look at these real-time scenarios objectively. They will also be able to figure out multiple possible solutions to achieve the desired solution.
#5 Quality Assessments & Feedback
Last, but definitely not the least, quality assessments & feedback play a very major role in cultivating a habit of critical thinking.
It is demotivating for a student to put in efforts, and not receive any sort of personalized feedback on their performance. Sharing constructive feedback with your students makes them feel that their efforts are being valued.