Designing learning activities that promote critical thinking

Distance Learning

For example, if a student expresses interest in languages, a school curriculum will orient the student to a language course; but to really experience the language and reach fluency, a course is not enough. Students need additional information to immerse themselves in the process that will go beyond comprehension and analysis. A well of resources can be available to them provided they know how and where to locate them.

Great free online programs exist like Duolingo, travel opportunities like AFS, or a peer group in their community who speaks the desired language. Language is only one area of interest. Other valuable platforms for self-directed learning opportunities are embedded in the Open Education movement. All OER resources are free and do not require permission to use.

This is incredibly valuable for students who do not have the benefit of privilege and access. Knowing how to think critically and locate sources of information is imperative for effective self-directed learning, but can lead students down convoluted paths if they also do not know how to investigate sources.

Teaching Strategies to Promote Critical Thinking

To support the public in addressing this need, sites like Facebook have begun reviewing sources of news on social media. Other sites like Snopes acts as an online fact checker to uncover fake news.

Although these measures may be beneficial, self-directed learners should not rely on larger sources to do the work for them. One great way to explore the source and impact of various perspectives is by not simply settling on the information provided. Self-directed learners should create ways to experience information and consider the impact of basing ideas and perspectives on it.

What can this look like in the classroom? Once a self-directed learner is in the zone of thinking critically, locating resources that support their growth and development, and exploring those sources for validity and impact, it is imperative they are able to model their learning in new experiences. Allow for test and hypothesis based on experiential and problem-based learning. Consider the following paths of inquiry:. A strong learning community is one that is built by self-directed learners who contribute powerfully to supporting, elevating, and empowering each other.

In order to create this level of inclusion and innovation, all learners students and teachers alike need to know how to learn and how to collaborate effectively by taking ownership of their own contributions.

Self-directed learning will always exist without our trying to force it into the curriculum, but a curriculum that illuminates and seeks intention through self-directed learning will take our communities to the transformative level. Ennis, R. Informal Logic, 18 2 , This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we've preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer's own. Get the best of Edutopia in your inbox each week.

What is Self-Directed Learning? At this stage, the instructor was used as a facilitator and provided students with the necessary instructions and tried to encourage all students to participate in the discussion. Then the students were taught the basic instruction by the instructor through role-playing, and they were also encouraged by the instructor to practice in groups of ten on the mannequins Fig.

The simulation method alone was used in the control group in such a way that the related instructor taught the subject matter of the same session on the mannequins through role-playing, without any clinical background and students practiced in groups of At the end of the program, both groups participated in the critical thinking skills test and Objective Structured Clinical Examination OSCE test in order to measure their performance. OSCE test was carried out by planning 10 stations. This tool was developed to measure students' critical thinking skills and it contains 34 multiple-choice questions, designed in five areas of cognitive skills of critical thinking, which include analysis, inference, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning and evaluation.

Examples of Learning Activities

Each person was awarded one score for each question which was answered correctly in the questionnaire and the total of correct answers constitutes the total score, the minimum and maximum of which were 0 and Scores obtained in each section of the test was between the range of 0 and 16, such that in the analysis, inference, evaluation, inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning sections, 9, 11, 14, 16 and 14 scores were considered, respectively.

This test was selected from 10 stations, including measuring blood pressure, dressing change, measuring body temperature, colostomy care, wound care clinical scenario, clinical bowel care scenario, pressure ulcer care, oxygen therapy, vital signs scenario, identifying devices by consulting with nursing team members. Furthermore, the reliability of the test was approved with correlation coefficient of 0.

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Data were collected and imported into SPSS. Thereafter, they were analyzed and evaluated using descriptive and analytic statistics. The mean scores obtained from the performance level of the two groups were compared using the independent t -test, after the intervention. The pair t -test was utilized to compare the mean scores for critical thinking before and after the intervention. In addition, Mann—Whitney test and chi-square test were utilized to compare different fields of the critical thinking.

One of the major limitations of this study was the presence of both groups of students in a collaborative learning environment. In addition, the implementation time of the training program of both groups was different due to less interaction between the two groups. Another limitation of this study was lack of educational sessions.


Moreover, there was no possibility to hold more sessions in the curriculum of the faculty as a result of the coincidence of class hours. Among the 40 first-semester nursing students who participated in the study, 25 were females The "Chi- square" test showed that the subjects in both experimental and control groups were homogenous in terms of sex. The mean age in the experimental group Furthermore, the average GPA in the experimental group Using "Chi square" test, the frequency distribution of accommodation shows that there is homogeneity between the two groups.

The first hypothesis of the research states that "the integrated training simulation and critical thinking strategies , compared with simulation training, improves students' performance. The second hypothesis states that, the "integrated training simulation and critical thinking strategies compared with the simulation-based training improves students' performance.

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Total scores were obtained in OSCE test which consisted of 10 stations with 10 scores. In stations 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, the average scores of the experimental group were higher than the average scores of the control group, where the difference was statistically significant at three stations of 2, 6 and 9. The scores obtained at stations 7 and 10 that were not normally distributed, were analyzed using non-parametric Mann—Whitney test.

The average scores of both groups were equal at station 3. Furthermore, at station 5, the average scores of the experimental group were higher than the control group, which was not statistically significant. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of the integrated training simulation and critical thinking strategies and simulation-based training on the performance level and critical thinking ability of nursing students. Also, the results showed that the score of the critical thinking ability obtained in the integrated training was increased only in the analysis dimension.

In other words, this training method didn't fully strengthen students' critical thinking ability. This finding is in line with similar results regarding the effects of the simulated patient high-fidelity [ 16 , 17 ], effect of lecture method alone, lecture and case study, and the simulated patient [ 14 ] on critical thinking of nursing students. The results showed that, the critical thinking scores were improved, but there were no significant difference between groups. In summary, it can be concluded that a training course alone is not significantly correlated with the critical thinking.

Furthermore, acquiring the critical thinking skills needs long period of time and continuing education. The result shows that integrated use of the training methods leads to higher performance in students. Previous studies have also revealed similar results regarding the positive effect of using integrated methods on clinical practice, problem solving skill, clinical efficacy and academic achievement and clinical competency. Moreover, in a study carried out by Liw et al.

Lee et al.

5 Critical Thinking Strategies

The results suggested that the problem-solving skills and self-directed learning was significantly improved in the experimental group. Thus, the integrated method was proposed as a useful strategy in nursing education [ 19 ].


This study showed that the integration of critical thinking strategies problem based learning with small group discussion with simulation can improve the practical learning. The integration of both active learning will provide the opportunity to practice clinical skills in a real non-threatening environment [ 20 , 21 ].

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This helps students to have personal interpretation from problems and therefore strengthens the learning processes and problem-solving skill [ 22 , 23 ]. In this research, students were given the opportunities to deeply discuss and explore the scenario through the integration of simulation and critical thinking strategies.

The theoretical knowledge obtained from the scenario analysis facilitates the transfer of theoretical knowledge to students' clinical performance during simulation as well as encourages the discussion after simulation synthesis and application of the knowledge. The findings of the present study suggest that the use of integrated training methods simulations and critical thinking strategies as an active learning and student-directed strategies increase students' practical learning in a safe and controlled environment.

This participatory approach is a deep learning guide for the learner in order to think aloud and explore the knowledge, solve problems and think critically. Group dynamics on the development of critical debate and immersion in the simulation cycle enable students to use various sources to understand the functions capabilities of the job prospects while transferring knowledge. In addition, training in the stress-free environment of the clinical skills center enables coaches to allow students to obtain theoretical foundations and practical application of knowledge and problem-solving skills more.

In this regard, it is recommended by researchers to use integrated teaching practices in the clinical training planning in order to enhance the clinical performance of students. Merging problem-based learning and simulation as an innovative pedagogy in nurse education. Clin Simul Nurs. The study of effectiveness of blended learning approach for medical training courses. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal.

Deubel P. An investigation of behaviorist and cognitive approaches to instructional multimedia design. J Educ Multimedia Hypermedia. Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty.