Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Preliminary Investigation on the Effectiveness of a Thinking Skill Training in Indonesia: "Thinking Skills Training with Digital Technology"

Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Preliminary Investigation on the Effectiveness of a Thinking Skill Training in Indonesia: "Thinking Skills Training with Digital Technology"

Article excerpt

Introduction

Thinking skills are often regarded as key skills to be successful in higher education (Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, & Whitt, 2010) and career (Heimler, Rosenberg, & Morote, 2012; Parham, Noland, & Kelly, 2011). An employer and employee survey conducted in Indonesia indicates that employees with thinking skills are rare and in great demand (Gropello, Kruse, & Tandon, 2011). Similar state of demand exists in the Indonesian education system. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS), Indonesian education is considered to be below par. Indonesian education experts understood the report as a warning sign, and they understandably called for more attention on thinking skills training in Indonesian education (Napitupulu, 2013). The lack of thinking skills among Indonesians has been considered to have influenced the society at large, which is portrayed in some aspects such as citizens' lack of concern on traffic safety (despite full understanding of the risks involved) and rash decisions made by government officials (Wahyudi, 2013). Many Indonesian academicians are worried that this thinking skills problem will ultimately spread to other aspects of the society. As an attempt to address this problem called by Indonesian education experts, we developed a training program for thinking skills and test it.

As an important first step towards the program development, the definition of thinking skills and how it should be measured is considered. Measuring thinking skills is difficult because the definition lacks consensus (Beyer, 1984). A pragmatic definition of thinking skills would be by using intelligence quotient (IQ) tests as thinking skills measure (Stanovich, 2009). Despite criticisms of defining thinking skills in terms of IQ tests (Duckworth, Quinn, Lynam, Loeber, & Stouthamer-Loeber, 2011; Stanovich, 2009), IQ tests have its own attractive pragmatic values as a proxy measure of thinking skills. IQ scores are correlated with educational achievement, employment prospects, career outcomes, and well-being (Sternberg, Grigorenko, & Bundy, 2001). Therefore, increasing thinking skills in terms of IQ scores may positively influence those factors.

Although IQ scores can be an attractive measure of thinking skills, it cannot serve to guide the training material. Thus, another definition of thinking skills that can be used to guide the material for the thinking skills training is required. One definition of thinking skills that can serve this purpose is critical thinking (Facione, 1990). Critical thinking is a general term for a wide range of cognitive skills required to identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments and truth claims, discover and overcome personal biases, formulate and present reasons to support a conclusion, and make reasonable decisions about what to believe and what to do (Bassham, Irwin, Nardone, & Wallace, 2011).

Objective

The aim of this study is to develop and test a thinking skills training that would increase thinking skills. The training is based on critical thinking principles, Socrates reasoning method (Kahn, 1998), experiential learning, and experimental method. It would make use of the current affordances of digital technology. Specifically, the efficacy of the training would be investigated through quasi-experimental design with pre- and posttest and control group. The experimental and control group were tested twice in a period of three weeks. The control group did not receive any training. The efficacy of the training would be evaluated by the differences between pre- and posttest scores of the experiment group controlling for the scores of the control group.

Method

Participants

There were 58 participants from the SM orphanage and 23 from the PH orphanage. The participants from the SM orphanage were assigned as the experimental group that received the training, while orphanage members of the PH orphanage were assigned as the passive control group. …

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