Topic 1: (Re-)defining critical thinking in the digital era

Critical thinking (CT) is a vital ability and one of the main competence practiced in higher education, which is necessary for students to become independent and reasonable thinkers. In order to achieve this goal, one has to have abilities to evaluate evidence, distinguish false, true and incomplete information and draw conclusions.

Critical thinking has many different definitions. One of the most concrete definitions is “Critical thinking is that mode of thinking—about any subject, content, or problem—in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them” (Paul & Elder, 2002). However, in the 1990s critical thinking was defined quite differently:

  • Critical thinking is a reflective and reasonable thinking that is based on being true or false final decision (Ennis, 1989).


  • “A purposeful and self-regulatory judgment which is concluded to interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference as well as explanations of different types of arguments based on logical judgment” (Facione, 1990).

More recently it was defined as:

  • ‘‘Critical thinking is the process of analysis, evaluation, inference, and interpretation of resources and activities (gathered via online experiences with course material)’’ (Saadé, Morin & Thomas, 2012).

All in all, critical thinking is a phenomenon, which through time have been defined and understood differently, though it has been mostly defined by such skills such as interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and self-regulation.