Develop your CRITICAL THINKING skills - easily!
3.9 (41 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
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Develop your CRITICAL THINKING skills - easily!

Improve your study, work and decision-making skills with this practical and comprehensive guide to critical thinking
3.9 (41 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
517 students enrolled
Created by ThinkSchool !
Last updated 2/2015
English [Auto]
Current price: $62.99 Original price: $89.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Think critically like an expert
  • Recognise and frame problems
  • Build persuasive arguments
  • Gather and systematically evaluate evidence
  • Avoid cognitive bias and fallacies
  • Draw and evaluate conclusions
  • Check assumptions
  • Reason ethically
  • College level education

Are you one of the 9 out of 10 people out there who could do with a brain boost?

  • Falling behind at college because you don't seem to learn as effectively as your peers?
  • Not getting that promotion at work because someone else seems a lot smarter than you?
  • Find yourself making the wrong decisions all the time?
  • Find it difficult to solve problems?
  • Have problems persuading other people?

Don't worry.

A lot of the above problems really boil down to you being able to think more logically and rationally and being able to present your point across in a clear and convincing way.

That's where improving your critical thinking skills is important.

Simply put, critical thinking skills help you think better and smarter.

Developing your critical thinking skills is not as hard as you might think. In this, one of the comprehensively structured courses in critical thinking, we provide you with a simple and fun way to do just that.

Warning - this is not your typical dry academic course in logic and philosophy! We take some elements of logic and philosophy, but are more interested in getting people to apply those ideas in in the real-world.

Boost your brainpower in just a few days!

How? I explain in very simple terms each key step in the critical thinking process that is designed to build up your confidence as a critical thinker.

You'll learn quickly and effectively with easy-to-digest videos that cover basic concepts along with practical examples. What can be better than spending less than 5 minutes each day picking up a new critical thinking concept or idea?

You will be using your portfolio of critical skills in no time!

And because the videos are small digestible chunks and easily indexed, you can quickly review and remind yourself of what you have learned. I've specifically designed the course in this way so it's like having your own personal library on tap at any time - and remember, you get lifetime access for only US$49!

Who this course is for:
  • This course is for individuals who are interested in improving their thinking skills including students at college, working professionals and adult learners. We do not assume any prior knowledge.
Course content
Expand all 125 lectures 04:09:22
+ Getting What Critical Thinking Is All About
15 lectures 30:05

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally

Preview 01:43
FatFoe pads are scientifically proven to help reduce weight without the need to diet!
Preview 05:05
We can examine product advertisements more carefully using critical thinking
Preview 02:18

Because of their large unusual geometrical patterns, “croppies” believe that crop circles were created by UFOs and alien beings

Example of critical thinking - crop circles

The are many situations where thinking critically will be important

When do we need to think critically?

If we don't think critically we effectively become robots that just follow instructions!

What happens if we don't think critically?
Critical thinking skills lead to more productive problem-solving at work
Critical thinking at work
Here are four different definitions of critical thinking
Definition of critical thinking

There is a significant difference between a critical thinking process and a non-critical thinking process.

A critical thinking process requires rigor and discipline.

Critical thinking process

Critical thinking involves learning “how” to think rather than “what” to think

Deeper thinking and meta-cognition

There are many benefits to critical thinking including the ability to solve problems more quickly and ask relevant questions

Benefits of critical thinking
There are many impediments to critical thinking such as laziness, bias and habitual thinking patterns
Impediments to critical thinking
As in a court of law, evidence plays an integral role in determining whether or not an argument is to be believed
Evidence in arguments

Critical thinking involves thinking logically about problems

Critical thinking is logical

Critical thinking involves creating a sound and believable argument, or evaluating whether an argument is such

The concept of the argument
+ So How Do Critical Thinkers Think?
8 lectures 18:52
The three modes of character integration represent three distinct types of thinking personality
3 modes of character integration

We may not all be at the same level of Albert Einstein but we can learn from how other critical thinkers think.

How do critical thinkers think?
Critical thinkers are much more organised and methodical in their approach as compared to non-critical thinkers
Characteristics of critical thinkers
Great problem-solvers possess a number of important traits
Traits of great problem-solvers
Critical thinking differs from non-critical thinking in a variety of different ways
Critical versus non-critical thinking
The following unscientific but fun 10 minute test can be used to determine if you think like a critical thinker
Exercise - are you a critical thinker?
Bloom's learning taxonomy illustrates what critical thinking is and how it differs from creative thinking
Bloom's learning taxonomy
Robert Ennis identifies several characteristics of the critical thinking process
Ennis's critical thinking process
+ Firstly Recognising the Problem
19 lectures 39:05

A problem is something that requires a solution, decision or response

Just what is a problem?
The following shows an example of a vague argument
Example - taxes
An example of how problems which are framed differently provide two completely different perspectives
Examples of problem framing
 Framing is how we perceive an issue or problem 
Framing the problem
There are 4 main causes of poor framing
Poor framing
We need to distinguish between real problems and problems which are either imagined, over-exaggerated or mis-guided interpretations of a given situation
we need to verify that the problem is real
Is it a real problem?
It is important to ascertain that a problem is indeed a deserving problem
Is it a deserving problem?
We need to first accept that a problem exists

People only tend to act on problems when they feel a sense of ownership

Problem ownership and acceptance

Individuals might be aware of a problem but choose to ignore it 

Ignoring a problem
Stakeholders in problem-solving

An unspecified or anonymous source is used as part of an argument, usually with the intent of adding credibility to the argument by providing an imagined authority for a piece of evidence

"Anonymous authority" fallacy
Ownership may be single or joint
Ownership models
A critical thinker seeks to understand the root cause of a problem not just the effects of a problem
Cause and effect
Being precise about a problem is almost always a good thing because it helps you determine if the problem is a genuine one, and how serious it might be
This exercise will help you think about prioritisation
Exercise - busy life

Correlation, can be viewed as “co-relation”, or a relationship between two things that happen at the same time

Causation is when one thing causes another thing, or a cause-and-effect relationship

Correlation versus causation

False precision gives the illusion of precision to make an argument appear stronger than it really is

"False precision" fallacy
Handling vague arguments
We can prioritise problems based on impact and urgency
Prioritising problems
+ Getting To The Point! Understanding The Argument
23 lectures 43:28
What is the problem, how it is framed and what is the argument?
Example - rising property prices in Singapore
Arguments are at the centre of critical thinking - we look at arguments rationally rather than emotionally
Introducing arguments
We either make an argument to convince people to believe something or evaluate an argument that has been presented to us to decide whether to believe it
Purpose of an argument
Formal arguments rely on formal logic; informal arguments rely on informal logic
Formal and informal arguments
The killer robot example shows the difference between formal and informal logic
Example - killer robot
An argument has two parts - the claim or conclusion - and the evidence or reasons that support the claim or conclusion
Structure of an argument - claim and evidence
An argument may have multiple premises and sub-premises as often seen in longer and more complex arguments
Multiple premises and sub-premises
A conclusion can be placed before or after the premises

Indicators are keywords used to identify the conclusion or premises in an argument

Conclusion placement and indicators
An assertion is a point of view without any supporting reasons or premises
Which of the following are arguments?
Exercise - which are arguments?

A complex argument is more difficult to analyse than a simple one

Critical thinkers are not put-off by complex arguments; a complex argument may take longer to analyse but the basic process is the same

Complex arguments
The 2008 global financial crisis is a good topic that highlights the nature of real-world arguments
Real-world argument - the 2008 global financial crisis
Real-world arguments tend to be incoherent, messy and disorganised
Nature of real-world arguments
The persuasiveness of an argument depends on logos, ethos and pathos
Persuasiveness of an argument
Identify whether the following statements are examples of logos, ethos or pathos
Exercise - logos, ethos and pathos
A critical thinker ignores the emotion and tone in an argument
Emotion in argument
The example illustrates the use of emotion in argument
Example - Sandy Hook shooting
"Appeal to emotion" fallacy is used to call into question the motive of a person or organisation regardless of how tenuous or unlikely the motive may be
"Appeal to emotion" fallacy

In an "appeal to flattery" fallacy flattery is used in an attempt to gain support

"Appeal to flattery" fallacy

A strong argument is one where the premises are reasonable and the conclusions reasonably follow from the premises

A weak argument is one where one or more premises are unreasonable, or when the conclusion does not reasonably follow from the premises

Strength of an argument

Bias distorts our perspective and affects our judgment, often subconsciously without us realising it


What do these statements have in common?

Exercise: what do these statements have in common?

Prejudice is a pre-concieved judgement towards an individual or group of individuals based on unfounded beliefs or attitudes

Prejudice often results in negative feelings, sterotyping, rejection or discrimination

+ Gathering The Evidence That Supports An Argument
11 lectures 18:49

The main purpose of evidence is either to

1)Support a claim that we are making

2)Evaluate whether a claim can be believed

Purpose of evidence
Incomplete information
The primary means of collecting evidence is by asking questions
Collecting evidence by asking questions

The Kipling method advocates 6 critical kinds of question, namely, what, why, when, how, where and who.

Kipling method

The idea of the 5 whys is to dig deeper to understand the root cause of a problem and understand why a problem is happening in the first place

5 Whys

Socrates was a famous philosopher and educator who taught by asking questions; he defined six main types of question

Socratic questions

A questioning strategy is about asking questions in a thoughtfuland purposeful manner to arrive at a point of decision-making in an efficient manner

Questioning strategy
There are several different types of exploratory questions
Exploratory questions
Failure to elucidate is a logical fallacy where a response is given that adds little or any additional significant information
"Failure to elucidate" fallacy
We have a tendency to drift in the search for information due to various biases
Information drift

Base-rate fallacy is where a judgment is made that disregards existing information on probability and instead takes into account irrelevant information

"Base rate" fallacy
+ Evaluating The Evidence - Does It Stack Up?
11 lectures 27:12
 We need to evaluate the quality of data that has been collected or provided in support of an argument
Why evaluate the evidence?

A tool for evaluating the quality of information sources - originally designed for academic use

The CRAP test

The fallacy of anecdotal evidence is where generalisations are made on the basis of anecdotal, and often insufficient, evidence

"Anecdotal evidence" fallacy

A non-credible witness is someone we doubt

In legal terms, a credible witness is one whose testimony can be believed


If we meet someone for the first time, or are doing business with another company for the first time, how do we establish the credibility of the individual or the organisation?

How to establish credibility?
Five aspects of credibility

Facts can be verified through observation or an established point of reference such as a book or acknowledged expert

Opinions can only be evaluated not verified

Verification versus evaluation

An observation is made by gathering data from sight, smell, touch or other senses

An inference is a conclusion one derives based on a set of assumptions

Observation versus inference
Universal intellectual standards are questions which can applied to thinking whenever one is interested in checking the quality of reasoning about a problem or situation
Universal intellectual standards
Are the following statements factual or opinion?
Exercise - fact or opinion?
In critical thinking we should not confuse facts with opinion
Facts versus opinions
+ Avoiding Cognitive Bias and Logical Fallacies!
20 lectures 35:08
Look at the two lines - which is longer?
Puzzle - which line is longer?

Anchoring is the tendency to rely on past reference, an “anchor” when making a decision 


A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning

Logical fallacies
There are five main types of logically fallacy, 1) irrelevant appeal, 2) personal attack, 3) presumption, 4) faulty generalisations and 5) distractions
Types of logical fallacy

The use of a person or institution of authority, stature or repute as a premise to support a conclusion

"Appeal to authority" fallacy

A claim that something is true because many other people also alledgedly believe its true

Appeal to popularity

An appeal to motive calls into question the motive of a person or organisation regardless of however tenuous or unlikely the actual motive may be

Appeal to motive

In an appeal to ridicule, an argument is responded to as if it so absurd, ridiculous or comical to the extent that it not deserving of any serious merit or attention

Appeal to ridicule

There are many different kinds of irrelevant appeal

Other kinds of irrelevant appeal

Ad hominem is an attack on the person making an argument rather than the argument itself 

Ad hominen

False dilemna is a false choice – it involves portraying situations as a choice between black or white

False dilemna
 Tuquoqueinvolves dismissing a person’s argument because the person does not practice what they say or are deemed unqualified
Tu quoque

The use of exaggerated and improbable consequences

Slippery slope
A complex question is often called a trick or loaded question because it has implicit assumptions or is really a combination of multiple questions designed to confuse
"Complex question" fallacy

Deliberately introducing or highlighting favourable or unfavourable information in order to make a certain impression

Poisoning the well

The qualities of one thing are automatically assumed in another thing through a tenuous or insignificant association

Association fallacy
In cherrypicking, one selects evidence and information that supports a desired conclusion or point of view while suppressing or ignoring information that supports an alternative conclusion.
"Cherry-picking" fallacy
"No true Scotsman" is where examples or exceptions that disprove a principle or generalisation are conveniently ruled out as unqualified examples
"No true Scotsman" fallacy

A red herring involves the introduction of an unrelated topic into a discussionin order to mislead or deflect attention

Distractions and red-herrings

Attacking a “strawman”, or a distorted or exaggerated version of someone’s argument, rather than the actual argument itself 

+ Drawing and Evaluating The Conclusions
7 lectures 13:19

You decide whether the conclusion actually follows from the stated premises and evidence

The big question - does the conclusion follow?

In deductive reasoning one applies applies a general theory to specific examples

In inductive reasoning one uses specific examples to make a general theory

Deductive versus inductive reasoning
Which of the following statements is an example of inductive reasoning and which is an example of deductive reasoning?
Exercise - journey to work

A sound argument is one where the argument is valid, and the premises are believable

An unsound argument is there the argument is valid, but where the premises are unbelievable

A sound argument
The validity and soundness of an argument are two distinct concepts.  A valid argument can be either sound or unsound.
Validity versus soundness

In the real-world, we are less likely to be concerned with whether an argument is valid or invalid, but rather with how strong or weak an argument is

Strong and weak arguments
Valid and invalid arguments
+ Checking The Assumptions Behind the Argument
9 lectures 20:58

3 machines (A, B and C) are able to produce 3,000 widgets per day 

How long will it take 4 machines (A, B, C and D) to produce 12,000 widgets?

Exercise - machine production

When someone makes an argument they may not explicitly mention things they believe to be true but which are relevant to the argument

These beliefs are known as assumptions

What are the assumptions being made in each of these examples?
Examples - what are the assumptions?
What are the assumptions being made in each of these examples?
Exercise - what assumptions are being made?

There are 3 types of assumption: stated, hidden and obvious

Types of assumption
Using value-laden words can influence the thinking process by painting a preconceived picture
"Poisoning the well" fallacy

The probability that A and B are simultaneously true, is always less than or equal to the probability that A is true - if you break this rule you have fallen prey to the conjunction fallacy 

Preview 02:19

We need to need check assumptions and decide whether they are acceptable or warranted.

A warranted assumption meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • Known to be true
  • Is deemed reasonable without the need for further evidence
Warranted assumptions

Critical thinking involves challenging the assumptions made in an argument.

What assumptions are being made?

Why are those assumptions being made?

How reasonable are the assumptions? Are they warranted?

How can we verify the assumptions?

Are the assumptions too simplistic?

In what situations would the assumptions not hold true?

What if…

Challenging assumptions
+ Ethical Reasoning - Checking Your Moral Compass
2 lectures 02:26

Ethical reasoning is reasoning about right or wrong human conduct, and what is fair, responsible and just

Ethical reasoning
The death penalty is an ethical dilemma since it involves a conflict in moral imperatives
Ethical dilemma - death penalty