Critical Thinking In Moodle-Based LMS: The What, Why & How

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In a forever evolving world of knowledge and learning, you only have one choice: Try to keep up. The same goes for your students. Or does it?

Does the content you teach your students makes all the difference? Do grades capture everything they have to say about a subject?

We live in a “golden age” where Learning Management Systems continue to unleash a thriving technological ecosystem that will allow us to better understand and serve learners. Many of the things we know about education and pedagogy have withstood the test of time. Part of our conventional wisdom, however, will reveal itself as wrong or outdated; for which we should be grateful as such is the unmistakable mark of progress.

Critical Thinking: The ‘What’

Critical thinking can be defined as the act of going deeper into what is taught to you, trying to understand the roots of what was taught, and coming up with permutations and combinations to achieve a similar end point.

By doing so, you can become empowered, and likewise empower students to grow more than what they would have if the only expectation was the retention of theoretical knowledge. Your students get the freedom to experiment with what is taught to them, and come up with multiple ways to achieve a similar outcome.

In short, to have critical thinking as a major part of your learning is a major boost to the overall engagement and growth of your learners.

While critical thinking continues to be a part of the “Holy Grail” of educational outcomes —not to mention a cornerstone of human development at any scale— learning technologies are starting to seed serious doubts into the “mechanics” of critical thinking acquisition.

Which for platforms like Moodle and those based on the open source LMS only means one thing: Achieving practical thinking skill could be a “make or break” moment for learning technologies.

Here’s ‘Why’

Formal, standardized methods to assess skills, competencies, competitiveness and aptitude have been synonymous with education systems since time immemorial.

But there are signs that this could change sooner rather than later. With the massive spike of data at our fingertips, we have sources of learner information that have never been available in any point in history. Furthermore, we also have the tools to make sense of this data in an actionable way.

For those willing to embrace the data revolution in learning and LMS, the idea of still relying exclusively on grades and be content with them as an indicator of educational achievement and the quality of learning could sound embarrassing.

But that is not all.

In our world, global competition continues to raise performance standards across the board. Competition and the fight for talent have never been more fierce. And yet, talent shortages and mismatches between candidates and organizational cultures are still rampant.

Candidates continue to excel and raise the stakes. However, HR departments continue to struggle in finding selection processes that identify top talent that actually adapts to an organization, in a cost-effective way.

To solve this problem, learning organizations and corporate departments have chosen to look beyond just the grades. Even in job interviews, a lot more emphasis is put on how out-of-the-box a candidates thinking is, instead of just how his performance has been in examinations.

Unsurprisingly then, there is now a need to motivate students to go beyond textbook knowledge, and the orthodox ways of solving problems. One way to achieve this is to cultivate a culture of critical thinking among students. But first, let’s get to know what critical thinking is. 

Critical Thinking in Moodle-based LMS: The ‘How’ 

Critical Thinking can be achieved in Moodle, in multiple ways. 

However, we found these 5 to be the best ways to achieve critical thinking

  1. Discussion Boards (Forums), 
  2. Quick Messaging, 
  3. Industry Exposure, 
  4. Additional Resources, 
  5. Quality Assessments and Feedback. 

To know more in detail about the above 5 factors, read here!

Summing Up

As you can see, the manner in which the capability of students is evaluated has changed over time. More and more focus is being put on assessing students on factors other than the usual grading process. 

Efforts are being made to motivate students to go beyond the usual approaches. Teachers are pushing for Critical Thinking to be made a mandatory practice across their e-learning courses. 

Talking about the ways you can achieve critical thinking in your Moodle site, we listed down the top 5 according to our understanding. You can find a more detailed explanation of the same in a dedicated blog post here

Similar to critical thinking, what are some other practices that you can think of, to improve the overall growth of your learner? Share your experiences below!

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