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Systematic Design of a Learning Environment for Domain-Specific and Domain-General Critical Thinking Skills
ARTICLE

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Educational Technology Research and Development Volume 64, Number 3, ISSN 1042-1629

Abstract

Identifying effective instructional approaches that stimulate students' critical thinking (CT) has been the focus of a large body of empirical research. However, there is little agreement on the instructional principles and procedures that are theoretically sound and empirically valid to developing both domain-specific and domain-general CT skills. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of systematically designed subject matter instruction in stimulating the development of domain-specific and domain-general CT skills, and to investigate the relationship between the two. The study employed a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design with two conditions: 45 students participated in an experimental condition and 44 students in a control condition. A learning environment, in the context of a freshman physics course, was designed according to the First Principles of Instruction model. The experimental condition followed the designed learning environment, while the control condition followed regular subject matter instruction that was not designed according to the First Principles of Instruction model. The experimental condition scored significantly higher than the control condition on a domain-specific CT test. The results also showed that better performance on a domain-specific CT test explained a significant proportion of the variance on a domain-general CT test. However, the experimental learning environment did not result in a significantly greater pretest-posttest improvement in the acquisition of domain-general CT skills compared to the control learning environment. Instructional design principles that may contribute to the present understanding of the integration of CT skills within the regular subject matter instruction are discussed.

Citation

Tiruneh, D.T., Weldeslassie, A.G., Kassa, A., Tefera, Z., De Cock, M. & Elen, J. (2016). Systematic Design of a Learning Environment for Domain-Specific and Domain-General Critical Thinking Skills. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(3), 481-505. Retrieved February 28, 2020 from .

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